Japanese Cuisine Spotlight: Ramen

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Ramen is something that many tend to dismiss as something that they needed in College to fill their stomachs for the cheap. Few know that ramen started its beginnings in Japan as pretty much the same solution to the same problem. Something cheap, but filling.

Of course it is not a part of a healthy daily diet, but once in a while it is a very delicious treat when time is of the essence.

OMG who is kidding, just dive in. Who cares if the locals look at you like a behemoth of eating.

However, the time honored practice of shaving cooking time into mere minutes has also begun an effort to make the humble ramen something more. Something substantial and hearty.

A distinct culture of culinary masters seek a way to make the humble instant pack of noodles the most satisfactory meal as possible. Utilizing a collection of additions like protein and vegetables to add additonal flavor to the 3 minute ramen, instant ramen has a amazing collection of recipes to upgrade their simple cooking time.

But a select few have gone further. Taken the time to see if what can happen when fresh ingredients are utilized.

Take the ramen out of its “instant” quality, and try to make everything that makes a ramen, a ramen… A fresh dish made on the instant the desire for noodles comes around.

豚骨ラーメン

Utilizing deep broths from proteins and adding umami enabling vegetables, the simple ramen broth becomes something deep in savory goodness.

With chewy fresh noodles instead of the instant deep fried bricks common in Nissin and Maruchan offerings; the noodles begin to slowly absorb the amazingly savory broth and become a vehicle to deliver the soup’s amazing broth to your taste buds. Every chewy bite along with complimentary toppings further enhance the flavor brought to the entire bowl by its amazing broth.

The entire process to bring together that amazingly satisfying ramen that makes instant packs seem childish takes an amazing amount of work. Especially to do so daily as an owner of a busy ramen shop.

The 2018 Winter season is lasting a terribly long time in the East Coast of the US. When I get tired of eating Pho or Korean Tofu hotpots to satisfy my cravings for a warming meal, local delicious ramen shops hit the spot just as much.

Everyone has their go to meals to warm their inner soul in times of a complete chill in the winter winds. Add ramen to that catalog. It is amazing and easily allowed to fit many tastes with most ramen shops having a diverse menu. From the vegan to the seafood lovers. It’s all here if the ramen shop is worth their own.

Most ramen shops even offer a customizable menu that let customers customize their own bowl. Choice ranging from different broths and toppings; to even the type of noodles, many customers can find their perfect bowl of delicious umami goodness.

What many affectionately call the: “Ramen Overload”.

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