Ramen 101 by Chef Nakamura

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in Hiroko's Blog

Ramen 1ramen 2I was born and raised in Japan. The type of ramen which I have enjoyed during my grown-up – and even today – is Tokyo/Yokohama style. It is chicken broth based, shoyu (soy sauce) flavored ramen. In Shoyu ramen we find yellow hued, chewy textured, thin ramen noodles in very clean and clear broth. Shoyu ramen tastes clean and lean. That’s what I like. This style of ramen appeared at the end of 19th century in Yokohama, next to Tokyo. The ramen has, since then, evolved much in Japan. Different regions have created specific style of ramen in order to appeal to their own communities and fit to their climate. Different style is seen in the broth – lean chicken based, rich pork based, or mixed, and the thickness, texture and color of the noodles.

I teach ramen at cooking schools; I consult food companies with ramen menu. But, today I had an opportunity to welcome Chef Nakamura of Ramen Lab, R&D Department for Sun Noodle Company, in my kitchen to learn more about the depth of broth and noodles.

Chef Nakamura gave us 3 major ramen tasting:

  • Chicken based, shoyu flavored broth: paired with yellow-hued, chewy thin noodles; from 1910 period
  • Very very rich pork based, salt flavored broth: paired with not yellow, more dehydrated (during noodle making process), less chewy textured noodles; from 1937 period
  • Medium rich, miso flavored broth; paired with slightly thicker, yellow-hued, chewy noodles; from 1950 period

Today’s discoveries: George Kao, National Sales Manager of Sun Noodles Company offered me the following information. I want to share with you.

  • Total number of ramen restaurant in Japan reaches to 80,000 today!
  • New York has over 60 ramen shops, including Ivan Ramen.
  • Kansui does not turn the color of flour yellow. (George, thank you for correcting my mis-understanding.)
  • Kansui acts as preservative, as well.

Here are George’s recommendation of ramen restaurants in the large NY:

  • Yasa Ramen
  • Hinata Ramen
  • Chuko

Thank you Chef Nakamura and George!