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How to Eat Ramen

By Tanya Zhang

Introduction

What Makes Ramen Special?

Ramen has transcended its origins as a simple noodle soup to become a globally beloved culinary delight. Its allure lies in its flavorful broth, springy ramen noodles, and a myriad of toppings that cater to every palate. Whether enjoyed in a bustling ramen shop in Tokyo or homemade with love, ramen offers a comforting and satisfying dining experience.

I'll go over how to eat ramen properly, its cultural origins, and the proper utensils to eat ramen with.

ramen noodle soup with chopsticks and soup spoon

 

Choosing the Right Ramen

Understanding Ramen Types

  • Shoyu Ramen features a clear, soy sauce-based broth that is savory and lightly salty. It's a favorite among those who prefer a lighter yet flavorful option.

  • Miso Ramen is known for its rich and hearty broth made with fermented soybean paste, offering a deep umami taste that pairs well with bold toppings.

  • Tonkotsu Ramen boasts a creamy, pork bone broth that is thick and flavorful, perfect for those craving a hearty and robust meal.

 

Preparing Your Ramen

ramen noodles close up

Preparing a delicious bowl of ramen starts with boiling the ramen noodles to perfection. Typically, this involves cooking the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they achieve a springy texture. Meanwhile, the broth, whether homemade or from an instant pack, should be seasoned carefully with soy sauce, miso, or other flavor enhancers to achieve the desired taste profile.

 

Enhancing Your Ramen Experience

Traditional Toppings such as tender Chashu pork slices, Ajitsuke Tamago (soft-boiled eggs with seasoned yolks), Nori (seaweed), and Negi (green onions) add layers of flavor and texture to the dish. These toppings not only enhance the visual appeal of the ramen but also provide a variety of tastes with each bite.

ramen noodles with traditional toppings

Customizing with Vegetables like Menma (fermented bamboo shoots), corn, spinach, and bean sprouts adds freshness and nutritional value, making the dish more wholesome and satisfying.

 

Eating Ramen the Right Way

Use the right utensils

Enjoying ramen isn't just about eating; it's about embracing the cultural experience. Use wooden chopsticks skillfully to pick up noodles and toppings, and don't hesitate to slurp—the sound of slurping indicates enjoyment and helps cool down hot noodles.

I love this family set of reusable bamboo chopsticks or these Japanese wooden chopsticks for my ramen meals.

Remember to sample the broth first; it's considered polite and allows you to appreciate the base flavors before diving into the noodles.

 

How to eat ramen properly

When enjoying ramen, observing proper etiquette adds to the cultural experience. In the traditional way of eating ramen, diners hold chopsticks in their dominant hand and delicately pick up all the noodles, making sure not to take too many noodles at once to avoid overwhelming the mouth. Read our full guide on how to use chopsticks if you're unfamiliar. Training chopsticks are also a great first pair of chopsticks to have.

Position the Asian soup spoon underneath to catch any broth or stray toppings. As they bring the noodles to their mouth, it's customary to slurp loudly; this isn't just acceptable but encouraged, as it cools down the hot noodles and intensifies the flavors.

This rhythmic slurping also signifies appreciation for the chef's skill and the dish's quality. Don't go overboard though especially if you're in a public restaurant.

 

Drinking Broth and Using the Ramen Spoon

What to Do with the Spoon

While chopsticks are primarily used for noodles and toppings, the ramen spoon plays a crucial role in enjoying ramen. It's used to sip the flavorful broth directly from the bowl, allowing you to savor every drop of the carefully prepared soup. The spoon also comes in handy for finishing any remaining noodles and ingredients gracefully.

These ramen soup spoons are commonly seen in Japanese restaurants.

 

Add these black and red miso soup spoons to your kitchen for those Japanese-inspired dinner times with the family!

 

Ramen Around the World

Ramen has spread worldwide, adapting to local tastes and ingredients. In different countries, you'll find variations that incorporate regional flavors, from spicy kimchi ramen in Korea to rich tonkotsu-inspired dishes in the United States. Chefs around the globe continue to innovate with fusion ramen, blending international cuisines with traditional Japanese elements to create new and exciting flavor combinations.

 

toppings on ramen bowl with wooden chopsticks

Health Benefits of Ramen

Despite its reputation as comfort food, ramen can be nutritious when prepared with wholesome ingredients. It provides a balanced mix of proteins from meat, vitamins from vegetables, and carbohydrates from noodles, making it a satisfying and fulfilling meal choice. Enjoyed in moderation as part of a varied diet, ramen contributes to overall well-being and culinary enjoyment.

 

How Japanese People Eat Ramen

Japanese diners approach ramen with reverence and respect for its flavors and preparation. They typically start by tasting the broth, appreciating its depth and complexity. Then, using chopsticks, they skillfully enjoy the noodles and toppings, savoring each component with mindfulness and appreciation for the culinary artistry involved.

 

Conclusion

Ramen is more than just a meal; it's an art form that combines culinary expertise with cultural appreciation. By understanding its intricacies and embracing its flavors, anyone can indulge in the richness of this iconic noodle soup and ramen broth.

 

FAQs on How to Eat Ramen Properly

Are you supposed to drink the broth in ramen?

Yes, drinking the broth is an essential part of enjoying ramen. It's where much of the flavor lies, and it's customary to sip it directly from the bowl to appreciate the dish.

How do Japanese people eat ramen?

Japanese diners typically start by tasting the broth to savor its depth and flavors. Then, using chopsticks, they skillfully enjoy the noodles and toppings, slurping to enhance the experience and cool down hot noodles.

What's the spoon for in ramen?

The ramen spoon is used to consume the broth or to enjoy any remaining noodles and toppings gracefully. It's also handy for savoring the last drops of the flavorful broth.

What to do while eating ramen?

While eating ramen, focus on enjoying the flavors and textures. It's common to slurp the noodles, which not only cools them down but also enhances the taste. Take your time to appreciate the aroma and savor each bite.

 

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