At Noodle Bar PHX we talk proudly about our unique ramen. We care about the quality ingredients, we take time to innovate and make the best ramen experience possible for all our customers. But we also celebrate the tradition of ramen.
Part of that tradition is the different variations of ramen based on three Japanese regions. Of course, these aren’t strict regions — chef’s love to borrow and put their own twist on their creations — but if you’re a ramen beginner looking for a place to start, this is it.
First there is Tokyo ramen. It’s made with a combination of either pork or chicken stock and dashi, which is made from dried smoked bonito flakes and sea kelp. The noodles in Tokyo ramen are slightly curly and moderately wide.
Another indicator of Tokyo ramen is shoyu seasoning. Up until very recently, Tokyo-style pork and shoyu ramen was the most widely known ramen. That changed with the recent popularity of tonkotsu ramen, but it’s still a very popular ramen across the world.
Next, there is Sapporo ramen which comes from Japan’s northernmost province of Hokkaido, the birthplace of miso ramen. Characteristics of Sapporo-style miso ramen include thick, robust noodles, and rich chicken, fish or pork broth. The soup is flavored with akamiso, which is a red soybean paste and usually topped with stir-fried bean sprouts, cabbage, sweet corn and ground pork.
The flavors are never lacking in a good Sapporo ramen.
And last, but not least, if you catch slices of cashu and soft boiled eggs in your ramen, it’s probably a Sapporo style bowl.
Finally, we travel to Fukuoka in Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu for Hakata ramen. In Hakata, the ramen is tonkotsu, the rich, no-holds-barred ramen. While other ramen broths are gently simmered to bring out subtle, nuanced flavors, tonkotsu broth is cooked at a rolling boil that gives the soup its rich body, texture and opaque appearance.
Generally, in tonkotsu ramen, you’ll taste shio seasoning, but both shoyu and miso variations aren’t uncommon. Most chefs include thin slices of chashu, wood-ear mushroom, beni-shoga and spicy mustard greens as toppings to stand up to the intense pork flavor.
No matter which region your next ramen comes from, we can assure you that you’ll love it.