A bowl of traditional ramen consists of 4 basic ingredients: the noodles, the broth, the tare, and toppings. Ramen broth is usually a mix of chicken, pork, vegetables, and seafood, and each ramen shop typically creates their own specific blend. Most combine pork and fowl, others have more complex ingredients, and some vow that they will never reveal their recipe’s secrets. While most diners categorize the ramen types as miso, shio, tonkotsu, and shoyu, the individual shops will specialize in a single style, referred to as simply “ramen” on the menu. This guide will show you the basics about several different
regional varieties of ramen. But, it is just a beginning and touches on the myriad of varieties of ramen available all over Japan.
Tare is sometimes known as kaeshi. It is the strong and salty base essence that you will find at the very bottom of your bowl of ramen. Shoyu tare is the most common and is primarily a reduction of soy sauce along with some other elements. The type of tare used, whether miso, shoyu, shio, or anything else, is what determines the type of ramen.
Shoyu is soy sauce, but it is also a whole lot more. As a rule, most types of ramen use a shoyu base, however, there is a huge variation when it comes to style and taste, making it quite a vast category.
This substance is a type of fermented bean paste. It is available in several different shades of brown and is a common type of ramen. While only a few areas of Japan specialize in miso, many shops all over will offer their own version of a miso ramen.
Literally translated, shio means salt. This base typically lacks shoyu. It is a light-colored ramen made from a reduction of seaweeds, dried seafood, and other ingredients known for their salty flavor. It is full of umami. While many shops will offer shio style ramen, the city of Hakodate prides itself on this specialty.
Ramen with a broth made from pork bones. Unlike the other varieties listed here, tonkontsu ramen gets its name from the flavor of its broth, and not its tare.