The Four Main Types Of Ramen

By Kanyi M

When it comes to Japan, ramen is the unofficial national dish. In fact, every culture has its own variation of this popular meal. But beyond the immediate noodles and broth, Japan is also home to many types of ramen. The ones you’re most likely to come across in Japanese restaurants might be on the lighter side, while others offer a different taste, complexity, or experience altogether.

Shoyu ramen

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Shoyu literally translates to “soy sauce.” It’s often seen as the benchmark for all types of ramen in Japan.

Shoyu ramen is the most common type of ramen in Japan. The soup base is usually made with chicken and fish, using a blend of spices such as ginger, garlic, and white pepper. It’s usually topped with Nori (seaweed), bean sprouts, corn, menma (bamboo shoots), green onions, and kamaboko (fish cake).

Shio ramen

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Shio means “salt.” The broth of shio ramen is made with the addition of salt in the list of ingredients. This extra seasoning imparts a saltier taste to the soup while minimizing its sweetness.

Chicken and fish are still the main ingredients for shio ramen. A blend of spices, including ginger and garlic, gives the soup a more complex flavor. The noodles are topped with chopped green onions and seaweed.

Miso ramen

Fermented soybean paste, or miso, is the main ingredient in this type of ramen. Miso ramen usually has a thicker broth than shoyu and shio ramen, which gives the noodles a more substantial body.

Tonkotsu ramen

Tonkotsu literally means “pork bone.” Tonkotsu ramen is based on a pork bone broth that is further boiled with simmering soy sauce and spices. Wheat flour is added to thicken the soup, while the noodles are topped with dried seaweed, ground sesame seeds, bean sprouts, and sliced pork.