Ramen and Tsukemen - Food Staple in Japan
Posted on 06 May 2017
Ramen is the staple food in Japan. There are many different styles from north to south of Japan. Ramen was inspired by Chinese traditional noodle dishes. In most places, you will recognize that the soup base will have similar Chinese flavor.
Before entering the Ramen Museum, you will notice a pair of chopsticks floating in the air as if a ghost is picking up the noodles. As you enter the museum, you will be greeted with an abundance of souvenirs to bring home. After browsing the gift shop, you will head downstairs and enter the realm of the old school Japan.
Look around and take in the atmosphere. As you walk through the restaurants, you get to experience different styles of ramen. The variety of noodles, soup bases, and toppings will make you interested in trying all of the dishes. There are options to eat small/half portions so that you will be able to eat at every restaurant. We rated this place 6/10 for the uniqueness to try different styles; however, there are other ramen restaurants in Japan that are worth trying.
Ichiran is a big chain restaurant, so you will have no problem finding one. The unique feature is that you will sit in a "cubicle" and eat by yourself. You can still eat with friends and families around you. The purpose of eating alone is to let you fully experience the taste of their ramen. You get to choose the richness of the broth and oil, the amount of noodles, and more! The recommended amount is medium richness in oil and broth. In our experience, we highly recommend getting the highest richness in oil and broth. Your taste buds will tingle with excitement.
We went to another Ichiran in Osaka where they also offer table seating.
We went to random restaurants in Japan and they were all delicious. One had amazing soup base and another had a unique shoyu soup base. Don't be afraid to walk into a random ramen restaurant, you will be surprised how different it is from your hometown.
Tsukemen is known as dipping ramen. It is served with cold noodles and a gravy like soup base. The soup is super rich and flavorful, it makes you want to eat more. In most places, once you finished the noodles, you can ask for hot water so that you can drink the soup. The hot water will tone down the rich flavor and it will be similar to drinking regular ramen soup. We rated our tsukemen experience 10/10. We've tried many tsukemen restaurants in California, and all the soup base does not have the same gravy consistency. One restaurant we recommend trying is called Fuunji located in Tokyo. The soup base is super rich and makes you want more.
Another restaurant in Tokyo is called Rokurinsha located in the basement of the train station. You won't miss it since there will be a line. We loved this place because of the thick and delicious noodles. The broth is not like Fuunji, but we enjoyed both of these restaurants. We wished we could get Fuunji's broth and Rokurinsha thick noodles.
What is our favorite topping in ramen? Our favorite topping will have to be the marinated soft boiled egg. Most restaurants in America will not have marinated soft boiled egg. You will most likely see hard boiled eggs. One reason is that eggs in America will have a higher chance of having salmonella. Whereas, in Japan there is a low chance of getting salmonella. So most of the eggs in America will have to be fully cooked. Some eggs will have a signature stamp in America that will let chefs know that it is okay to eat raw or soft boiled. Why is there a huge chance of getting salmonella in America? The way America treats their chickens are very different than Japan. In America, most chickens are cramped in cages and live in horrible conditions.
What's in our next blog? We will show you what the streets of Osaka dotonbori will offer and what types of foods/snacks you should definitely try.
Note: Slurping ramen is considered respectful and shows that you appreciate their food. So slurp away!