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Shio ramen is a pale, clear, yellowish broth made with plenty of salt and any combination of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. Occasionally pork bones are also used, but they are not boiled as long as they are for tonkotsu ramen, so the soup remains light and clear. Chāshū is sometimes swapped for lean chicken meatballs, and pickled plums and kamaboko are popular toppings as well. Noodle texture and thickness varies among shio ramen, but they are usually straight rather than curly.

A wide variety of ramen exists in Japan, with geographical and vendor-specific differences even in varieties that share the same name. Ramen can be broadly categorized by its two main ingredients: noodles and broth.

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The origin of ramen is unclear. Some sources say it is of Chinese origin.Other sources say it was invented in Japan in the early 20th century. The word ramen is a Japanese borrowing of the Chinese lamian .Until the 1950s, ramen was called shina soba but today chūka soba or just ramen are more common, as the word has acquired a pejorative connotation.

Ramen is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork , dried seaweed , menma , and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Nagasaki champon. The noodles are thicker than ramen but thinner than udon. Champon is topped with a variety of ingredients, mostly seafood, stir-fried and dressed in a starchy sauce. The stir-fried ingredients are poured directly over the cooked noodles, with the sauce acting as a soup.

Most tonkotsu ramen restaurants offer a system known as kae-dama , where customers who have finished their noodles can request a “refill” to be put into their remaining soup.

Ramen is offered in various types of restaurants and locations including ramen shops, izakaya drinking establishments, lunch cafeterias, karaoke halls, and amusement parks. However, the best quality ramen is usually only available in specialist ramen-ya restaurants.

Most noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, as well as sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid.

Hakata ramen originates from Hakata district of Fukuoka city in Kyushu. It has a rich, milky, pork-bone tonkotsu broth and rather thin, non-curly and resilient noodles. Often, distinctive toppings such as crushed garlic, beni shoga , sesame seeds, and spicy pickled mustard greens are left on tables for customers to serve themselves. Ramen stalls in Hakata and Tenjin are well-known within Japan. Recent trends have made Hakata ramen one of the most popular types in Japan, and several chain restaurants specializing in Hakata ramen can be found all over the country.

. Also known as reimen, esp. in western Japan. A summer dish of chilled ramen on a plate with various toppings and served with a vinegary soy dressing and karashi . It was first produced at the Ryutei, a Chinese restaurant in Sendai.

Tonkotsu soup usually has a cloudy white colored broth. It is similar to the Chinese baitang and has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consistency that rivals milk, melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop).

Miso ramen is a relative newcomer, having reached national prominence around 1965. This uniquely Japanese ramen, which was developed in Hokkaido, features a broth that combines copious miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup. Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste or tōbanjan , butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.

Shōyu ramen is the oldest of the four, it has a clear brown broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory yet still fairly light on the palate. Shōyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones, but this is not always the case. It is often adorned with marinated bamboo shoots or menma, green onions, kamaboko , nori , boiled eggs, bean sprouts or black pepper; occasionally the soup will also contain chili oil or Chinese spices, and some shops serve sliced beef instead of the usual chāshū.

Curry ramen was first created in 1965 in Hokkaido.The soup is mainly made with pork bones and vegetables and is seasoned with curry. The noodles are thick and curly. Toppings include chāshū, wakame, and bean sprouts. It is a specialty of Hokkaido, particularly Muroran-city .

Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu , katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi , beef bones, pig bones, shiitake, and onions. Some modern Ramen broths can also be vegetable based.

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