TOPIC: Types of Ramen and How to Determine Quality

When it comes to Japanese noodles, ramen takes top place when it comes to the number of styles.
Some famous ramen varieties since the old days include Sapporo, Kitakata, Sano and Hakata ramen, while Tokyo, Wakayama, Tokushima and Onomichi ramen have been more recent additions.




Ramen noodles come in various types that are classified according to the water content (low, medium and high), shape (straight, wavy and temomi (noodles made wavy by hand)) and size.

Also, there’s an enormous range of soup types for ramen.
Ramen soup stock is classified by the ingredients (tonkotsu (pork bones), torigara (chicken bones), vegetable, and seafood, etc.) and the color or richness (chintan (light flavor with a clear color) and paitan (rich flavor with a milky-white color)).
What’s more, there’s a variety of flavoring sauces (shoyu (soy sauce) and shio (salt), sauce with a range of ingredients (dried seafood, vegetables etc.), and miso sauce) and flavoring oils (vegetable oil, pork back-fat and lard with various ingredients (dried seafood or vegetables etc.)).
Japanese ramen soup is made using combinations of soup stock, flavoring sauce and oil, and there’s an infinite number of possibilities.
This has led to a multitude of styles that range from traditional to avant garde proliferating across Japan.

Some unique styles of ramen have proved popular in Japan.
For example, tsuke-men boomed in the Kanto region around 2000, and its popularity has since spread throughout Japan.
Each shop creates and/or develops its own recipe, so tsuke-men has many different styles depending on what kind of noodle and soup are used.




And, as Japanese, we can’t forget about reimen (cold ramen).
Reimen is called known as hiyashi-Chuka.
Because it’s served cold, it’s a popular summer dish .
That said, reimen is actually offered not only in summer, but many shops also serve it during spring and autumn.

When it comes to noodle products, you can find good-quality ones in convenience stores nowadays.
The noodles still have a surprisingly good texture even though they aren’t freshly cooked and have been sitting in their boxes some time after being boiled.
Besides, the soup also tastes as good as the noodles.
Each convenience store brand has painstakingly studied and developed their recipes according to noodle type and temperature when eating. As such,
the quality of noodle products from convenience stores has now greatly improved.
The products are easy to get almost anywhere in Japan, and are nearly half the price of the ones you can eat at noodle shops.
The quality of noodle products sold at convenience stores is still improving, and they also keep developing and releasing new products to the markets.
In contrast, the quality of noodle products sold in supermarkets hasn’t improved as much as the ones in convenience stores, so the popularity of convenience store noodles has stayed far ahead of supermarket ones in recent years.

In terms of the quality of the noodles themselves, it is said that there are not many ramen shops providing high-quality noodles.
Rather, ramen shops generally focus on their soup quality, with noodles coming a distant second.
Yet noodle quality is key for long-term success in the noodle business, especially in today’s highly competitive environment.

Customers won’t visit a ramen shop on the same day if they buy a convenience store’s noodle product, which has good quality and an even lower price.
Considering that the demand for noodle products in convenience stores has been rising sharply, noodle shops should consider them as their direct competitors.




While ramen is already recognized as one of Japan’s most popular cuisines, we should remember that noodle quality also holds the key to determining the quality of a bowl of ramen.
As we have done lots of studies on noodle quality, including on ramen, we can clearly say that it is not easy to find amazingly tasty ramen noodles nowadays.
So, it may interest you to compare and study noodle quality if you plan to start up a noodle business, referring to what’s mentioned above.

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