8 Unique Japanese Ramen Noodles that will Surprise You!
Published: Feb 21, 2023/ Last Updated:Feb 21, 2023
- 7 min read
Hello ramen fans across the country! We prepared a special topic for you today to make your ramen life more fulfilling, so please enjoy!
What kind of ramen have you eaten recently? As enthusiasts, we are sure you enjoy various types of ramen such as tonkotsu, soy sauce, miso, and even tsukemen. The variety of ramen available in the United States is more diverse than it was a decade ago. However, our survey reveals that Japan, while continuously improving and evolving all kinds of dishes to add their own twist, has countless ramen dishes with unique ingredients that reach beyond our imagination.
In this article, we want to introduce eight unique ramen dishes, carefully selected from a wide variety of wonderfully crafted ramen. The eccentric appearance of some of these dishes is a stark contrast from their more conventional counterparts. Some of you may be hesitant to try them, but rest assured, all the dishes mentioned in this article are highly reputed in Japan for their taste. Some can even be prepared at home, so if you’re adventurous with your ramen flavors, please give them a try. We’ll include the websites of the restaurants that serve each of these ramen dishes, so if you have a chance to visit Japan, it’s worth stopping by for the OG dish. Let’s get started!
- Tomato ramen
- Cheese ramen
- Lemon ramen
- Pineapple ramen
- Ayu ramen
- Natto ramen
- Blue ramen
- Tequila ramen
We’ll begin with Tomato Ramen, which is simply put, ramen with tomato soup. Tomato-flavored ramen may sound like a strange combination but chili tomato noodle with ramen is popular in Japan and is part of the Nissin Cup Noodle lineup. With the common pairing of noodles and tomatoes in Italian cuisine, it’s easy to imagine the flavor of this ramen. Just as pasta and tomato sauce are a perfect match, so are ramen noodles and tomatoes.
We prepared a recipe for tomato ramen that we think you’ll enjoy.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat tomato ramen
In our previous article (PREDICTING THE NEXT GENERATION OF RAMEN BASED ON FOOD TRENDS FOR 2022? HERE ARE SOME OF THE HOTTEST INGREDIENTS!), we introduced Cheesy Ramen, which is gaining popularity on TikTok. However, The Cheesy Ramen featured on TikTok is a different style of ramen than the Cheese Ramen in this article. The most distinctive feature of Cheese Ramen is the heaping pile of grated cheese on top. The soup is miso-based tonkotsu broth, which may seem like a strange combination, but remains popular today, 20 years after its creation. Some believe it’s a new staple item on ramen menus in Japan. The appeal to this dish is the change in flavor of the miso-based tonkotsu as the cheese melts into the soup.
Here’s a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat cheesy ramen
Lemon ramen is characterized by the spread of lemon slices on the top of the dish. You may think that it would have a strong taste from the lemons, but the flavor is very delicate. The acidity is used as an accent to create a refreshing bowl of ramen. The overall zest of this dish seems to be inspired by Japanese soba, specifically “sudachi soba (Japanese soba noodle with sudachi citrus),” which is highly regarded by Japanese soba lovers.
Here’s an example of what sudachi soba looks like. It might be interesting to compare the tastes of both dishes.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat lemon ramen
The debate over pineapple on pizza is an ongoing one in the U.S., and it may be about to spill over to the topic of ramen. In Japan, there are restaurants that serve pineapple ramen with pineapple juice in the soup, pineapple as an ingredient, and even with a boiled egg flavored with pineapple syrup. This variation is featured in the anime “Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles” and is very well known among ramen lovers in Japan. Moreover, contrary to what we think about pineapple on pizza (sorry!), many has claimed that this pineapple ramen is “delicious”. To test that it is true, we decided to verify the taste by making it ourselves. The result is shown in this video, so if you are interested, please check it out!
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat pineapple ramen
Ayu (sweetfish) is a freshwater fish often served grilled with salt and is very popular in Japan. It isn’t a dish well known to Americans since ayu isn’t native to the area. Grilled dried ayu can be used as an ingredient for high-quality dashi in Japanese cuisine. However, in the case of ramen, ayu is not a common ingredient in dashi. In this soup, ayu is used to flavor the broth and as a topping. When we think of fish meat used as a topping in Japanese noodle dishes, the first thing that comes to mind is “Nishin soba (Japanese soba with simmered herring),” a specialty of Kyoto. However, the flavor between that and ayu ramen couldn’t be more different. In ayu ramen, the topping of roasted ayu that was dried overnight provides a savory flavor. In nishin soba, the simmered herring topping creates a sweet taste.
By the way, here’s an example of nishin soba.
As mentioned in the previous article, “THE SECRET TO UMAMI IS IN THE DASHI! LOOKING INTO DASHI IN RAMEN.”, the number of cases of new ramen recipes inspired by seafood ingredients are increasing every year in Japan. It is safe to say that ayu ramen is one of the ramen dishes that emerged in response to this trend.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat ayu ramen
Natto (fermented soybeans) often ranks high on the list of unpopular Japanese foods for foreigners, and we understand why. Natto is sticky and has a distinctive smell, making it difficult to get it past your nose. On the other hand, it’s a much-loved food for the Japanese people. So much so that natto was voted number one in this ranking of classic breakfast dishes. In this article, we’d like to highlight “Hippari Mazesoba” to readers, a type of ramen with natto as a topping. Technically, it’s not ramen, it’s mazesoba without soup, but we hope you’ll forgive us this once. This menu item is characterized using mackerel and natto as ingredients and was inspired by hippari udon (hippari means “pulling”), a local noodle dish in Yamagata Prefecture.
By the way, here is the hippari udon, accompanied by mackerel and natto.
We confess that you won’t be able to find hippari mazesoba’s rich and original taste anywhere outside of Japan. The restaurant serving this dish is in Osaka, not in Tokyo, so if you find yourself on vacation in Osaka, please stop by and give it a try.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat natto ramen (Hippari Mazesoba)
山形ラーメン 山系無双 烈火
Food with warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow are considered to look appetizing, while food with cold colors such as blue and purple are generally perceived to be less appetizing. However, we discovered that there is a ramen restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo, that overcame adversity and created delicious blue-looking ramen. This beautiful clear broth is based on an authentic chicken broth that is laboriously prepared. However, the identity of this blue soup seems to be a trade secret, unfortunately. When you visit Japan, be sure to try this mysterious blue ramen that you can’t find anywhere else.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat blue ramen
Last but not least is Tequila Ramen, which our underage readers may have to wait until they’re old enough to try. This is a rare ramen in which one shot of tequila is used per bowl, so you can eat ramen and feel tipsy at the same time. But don’t be fooled by its quirky concept, the flavor is outstandingly delicious. Its chewy flat noodles are a perfect match for the light, salt-based soup, and the added impact of the alcoholic tequila flavor gives it a unique kick. Lime, a staple when drinking tequila, is served on the edge of the bowl. When drinking tequila by the shot, a lick of salt is said to enhance the sweetness of the drink, and it’s interesting to imagine the combination of ramen with salt-based soup and tequila has a similar effect.
Here is a link to the restaurant in Japan where you can eat tequila ramen
In this article, we introduced eight unique and unconventional types of ramen available in Japan. How did you like them? If you’re familiar with more traditional ramen, you may hesitate to try some of these unique dishes based on their strange appearance. However, all the ramen introduced here are very popular in Japan, so why not give them a try? Perhaps a new genre of ramen will be added to your favorite ramen list and your ramen life will become richer!
Incidentally, we are particularly interested in tequila ramen. In our previous article (【BIRRIA RAMEN】MEXICAN CUISINE BRINGS NEW RAMEN POSSIBILITIES), we touched on the limitless possibilities of the fusion between ramen and Mexican cuisine. Tequila ramen could further expand on those possibilities, so we were very excited when we discovered it. We would love to see tequila ramen become available in Mexico. Can’t wait to see how the locals react!
That’s all for this issue. We have another topic of interest for ramen fans in the next issue, so look forward to it!
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