5 indispensable ramen toppings

Top 5 Indispensable Ramen Toppings: Reviews and FAQs

Referring to a famous Japanese dish, we cannot help but mention the typical ramen that always appears in Japanese books, movies as well as manga. In the article below, learn about ramen toppings with KITCHENBAR!

Ramen is a traditional and famous dish in Japan. This dish includes noodles made from wheat, broth usually cooked from pork bones, chicken bones or fish bones. It is often served with dishes such as sliced pork (char siu), dried seaweed (nori), fermented bamboo shoots (menma) and scallions.

indispensable ramen toppings

The 5 Indispensable Ramen Toppings

Ramen is always served with 3 or 4 different ramen toppings. For extra toppings, you usually have to pay an extra 100 to 200 yen for each. Below is a list of the most popular ramen toppings served with ramen noodles.

1. Popular Ramen Toppings: Chashu

This is a whole pork piece marinated in tare sauce and fried and sliced. Chashu is one of the indispensable ramen toppings in ramen recipes. For many types of ramen, you can use chicken, not only pork, but it is still considered chashu.

In addition, for the position of the meat used, the seasoning and processing method are also different. It totally depends on the restaurant secret and the region where the dish is from.

Especially in recent years, we often see chashu with bright colors and lots of gravy because of the use of low temperature cooking methods – a way of cooking dishes commonly found in French dishes.

2. Typical Ramen Toppings: Menma

Menma are bamboo shoots that are pickled in salt after they are thoroughly boiled. The artisan then ferments them. Menma is one of the most typical ramen toppings that is not found in udon or soba. It is also a way to distinguish ramen from udon or soba.

In general, the bamboo shoots are sliced thick and hard. However, you can also see the use of menma in the top soft tip.

In addition to being used as a typical topping when eating with ramen, menma is also a favorite as a wine snack, which you can eat while drinking beer before eating ramen.

3. Sweet Ramen Toppings: Nori

Nori is a dried seaweed. Nori is one of the traditional ingredients commonly used in sushi dishes in Japan. Nori comes with a unique aroma that is rich in nutrients and has a sweet taste. The sweetness of the nori corresponds to the sweetness of the broth, so it adds a rich flavor to the ramen.

However, depending on the type of ramen, there are some times when the taste of the nori will not match the broth. So don’t be surprised why there are some ramens that are not served with nori.

Nori is one of the traditional ingredients commonly used in sushi dishes in Japan.
Nori is one of the traditional ingredients commonly used in sushi dishes in Japan.

4. Unique Ramen Toppings: Negi

Negi (onions) has a unique aroma and spicy flavor that goes well with ramen. These are basically spices, so they’re not a must-have when eating ramen. But you will sometimes see ramen with a lot of negi as the mainstay.

The negi type used is also different depending on the region. In the eastern part of Japan such as Tokyo, white onions are often used. Meanwhile, in the western part of Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka, green onions are often popular.

In places where negi is a specialty, there are also many ramen restaurants that use that negi specialty as one of ramen toppings.

5. Best Ramen Toppings: Ajitama

This is a hard-boiled egg that is steeped in a tare sauce. In regular ramen, most people don’t put eggs in because this is basically a paid topping. It means that you can order if you have a demand.

For seasoning, it is common to use a shoyu flavored tare sauce, but salt and miso are also used. Many ramen restaurants will leave the egg yolk inside in the shape of a peach. But in some old-fashioned stores, there are places where people use hard-boiled eggs, cooked to the inside. This depends on the traditional know-how, the region and the tastes of diners.

Names of Popular Ramen in Japan

  • Shoyu ramen: The name comes from the tare shouyu. This type of ramen is considered to be the tradition and oldest. Chuuka Soba (Chinese soba noodles) or shina soba are both shoyu ramen.
  • Shio ramen: Shio means salt. This ramen has a clear yellow broth. This has the most ethereal broth of the four popular ramen broths. Shio ramen is as old as shoyu ramen and the Hakodate region is said to have the best shio ramen.
  • Miso ramen: Miso ramen usually has a brown-orange broth. The more spicy version of miso ramen is the tobanjan (a spicy bean paste). It is also quite popular. Miso ramen originated in Hokkaido, when a diner asked a chef to add noodles to their miso soup.
  • Tonkotsu ramen: Tonkotsu is a ramen that has a white, opaque and very fat pork broth. This is the most popular ramen in Kyushu, with Hakata and Kumamoto being the two most famous tonkotsu ramen processing regions.

How to Enjoy Ramen in Japanese Style?

How to enjoy ramen in Japanese style?
How to enjoy ramen in Japanese style?

If you think that eating ramen is simply eating noodles with broth, then it is definitely wrong. If you want to enjoy delicious ramen with Japanese style, you need to understand the following principles:

  • Get a taste of the ramen noodles before adding spices or food to the bowl.
  • To feel the full flavor of the bowl of noodles, you should taste the broth separately before eating vegetables, meat, noodles, so on.
  • Show the chef that you eat the delicious noodle dish through the “slurp” sounds when you eat the noodles.
  • To enjoy the best ramen noodles, you should eat each side dish separately so that the flavor of the dish does not mix. Since then, we cannot fully feel the taste of each different dish.
  • To prevent the ramen from getting cool, eat it as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if the noodles are soaked in water for too long, they will no longer be chewy and sweet. In addition, enjoy the ramen noodles to the last drops. According to the traditional Japanese way of eating, when you almost finish eating, you should pick up the whole bowl of noodles and finish the broth.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Aburasoba the same as ramen?

Aburasoba simply is broth-free ramen, also known as “noodles without broth” or “mixed noodles”.

Although there is no broth, you may find it strange to be classified as ramen, but this is still widely accepted in Japan.

The characteristic of the dish is to enjoy the noodles with the tare very little sauce. The sauce will often remain at the bottom of the bowl so you should mix them well when eating. On the other hand, unlike the name “Aburasoba“, the portion without broth is less calories than ramen.

2. How to enjoy ramen?

In Japan, when eating noodles such as ramen, udon or soba, people often have a habit of making a loud noise. There are data showing that when slurping like that, the noodles will blend with the broth more so that it is easier to feel the taste of noodles.

The point to note here is that when you eat ramen, you will be slurping hard, like slurping the air. Among the tourists coming to Japan, perhaps many will find it unfamiliar, but please try to eat noodles comfortably without any embarrassment.

There is nothing special about how to enjoy ramen. You can choose to eat noodles, broths and ramen toppings in your favorite order.

3. What is the difference between ramen noodles compared to regular noodles?

Ramen noodles are made up of three main ingredients: wheat flour, salt, and an alkaline mineral called kansui. People can adjust the above ingredients with different proportions to create a whole new type of noodle texture. In addition, the noodles will be selected to go with the consistency of the soup.

4. Are ramen noodles available in many sizes?

At ramen restaurants, you can choose a noodle size according to your preference, such as small noodles (hoso-men), large noodles (futo-men) or noodles with regular sizes (futsuu).

A little tip is: for rich and delicious soups like tonkotsu, it is better to choose big noodles. In contrast, kindly choose small noodles for light soups like vegetable soups.

5. Which makes rich ramen soup?

The soup of ramen noodles is made from 3 main ingredients: Dashi, Soy Sauce and Koumi-abura Oil.

  • Dashi

Dashi is also called broth. Dashi is the foundation that makes ramen noodle soup.

The most common ingredients for cooking dashi are usually pork bones or chicken bones, which give the soup a rich cheetah flavor. Those who love the lightness of the broth can replace them with finely chopped tuna shredded tuna (katsuo-bushi), sour seaweed (konbu), dried herring (niboshi) and some other seafood. People often use only one type of dashi for soup. It is rarely for chefs to combine 2 different types.

Tonkotsu Ramen is very popular in Japan
Tonkotsu Ramen is very popular in Japan
  • Tare Sauce

Tare is a soy sauce which is used to add flavor to dashi. There are 3 main types of tare sauce: Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), salt and miso (fermented soy sauce).

  • Seasoning Oil (Koumi-abura)

Seasoning oil (Koumi-abura) adds richness and the umami flavor to the broth. However, some ramen shops do not like to add oil to prevent the broth from becoming too greasy and not attractive. Some of the most popular seasoning oils today are lard, garlic oil, chili oil, so on.

Since the broth is the main backbone that makes up the delicious taste of the ramen soup, the ramen is often named after its broth. It takes the chefs to cook ramen a very long time to be able to create a rich and delicate soup, contributing to the deliciousness of the noodles and accompanying ramen toppings.


Above I gave an overview of Japanese ramen as well as delicious ramen toppings. If you are intrigued by this wonderful taste, please check out the article and enjoy.

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