What is ramen? – Japan’s most popular noodle soup

Welcome to a delicious journey through the world of ramen! This Japanese noodle soup has developed from a simple street food into an internationally acclaimed dish. But what exactly is ramen and what makes it so special?

Japanese ramen soup with chicken, egg, chives and sprout.
Japanese ramen soup with chicken, egg, chives and sprout.

The basics of ramen

Ramen is a Japanese soup that consists of four basic elements: the broth, the noodles, the tare (seasoning sauce) and the side dishes.

The broth

The heart of every ramen soup is its broth. It can be based on chicken, pork, beef or fish and is often cooked for hours to develop a rich, intense flavor. Vegetarian and vegan versions often use a strong vegetable stock as a base.

The noodles

Ramen noodles are wheat-based and known for their elastic, chewy texture. They vary in thickness and shape, which significantly influences the texture and taste of the soup.

The Tare

Tare is the soul of ramen soup. This concentrated seasoning sauce is placed at the bottom of the bowl and mixed with the stock. It determines the basic flavor type of the ramen: Shoyu (soy sauce), miso (fermented soybean paste), shio (salt) or tonkotsu (pork bone broth).

The inserts

Ramen is served with a variety of side dishes that complement the texture, color and taste. Popular side dishes include chashu (rolled, boiled pork), ajitama (marinated, soft-boiled egg), nori (seaweed), spring onions and bamboo shoots.

The variety of ramen

Ramen is incredibly versatile. You will find different interpretations of this dish from region to region in Japan. Hokkaido is famous for its rich and delicious miso ramen, while Kyushu is known for its creamy tonkotsu ramen. In Tokyo, you will often find shoyu ramen, which is characterized by a clear, dark soy sauce.

Ramen at home

While nothing beats an authentic ramen experience in Japan, you can also make this dish at home. With a little practice and the right ingredients, you can make your own ramen creations and experiment with different broths, tares and side dishes.


Ramen is more than just a noodle soup; it’s a culinary work of art that combines flavor, texture and presentation in a single large bowl of ramen . Whether you are a ramen novice or a seasoned aficionado, the world of ramen always offers something new to discover and enjoy.


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