Ordering Ramen For The First Time: Things To Know
Maybe you've had packaged ramen noodle soups before, but ordering ramen at a restaurant is a whole different game! Traditional ramen, served fresh, is incredibly delicious. Between the rich broth and freshly made noodles, you're in for quite a treat. However, you may need a little guidance when ordering ramen for the first time. Here are some key points to guide you.
Know your broths.
These are the four types of broth most commonly used to make ramen, and the ramen dishes are usually listed on the menu by broth. So, if you see "tonkatsu ramen," that is referring to ramen with tonkatsu broth. Tonkatsu is a thick and milky rich broth made with pork bones. Some other types of broth they may have are shio, which is a lighter broth base typically made with chicken, and shoyu, a thicker broth made with seafood and soy sauce. Miso broth ramen, the fourth common variety, is becoming more common and has a complex, umami flavor.
Check what toppings come with your ramen.
Most restaurants serve their ramen with a pre-selected group of toppings and allow you to add additional toppings if you so desire. You may see the list of toppings included in the individual ramen descriptions, or it may be listed separately, the understanding being that all ramen comes with the same toppings.
Typically, ramen is served with a soft-boiled egg, pork loin or pork belly, and some fresh veggies on top. Scallions, corn, mushrooms, and cabbage are popular.
If there is a topping you do not like, you can ask for it to be left off. And it is always permitted to request extra toppings be added to your ramen. Just be aware that adding extra meat usually results in an extra charge. Many restaurants will give you the other toppings for free, although some do charge.
Consider your noodle options.
Some restaurants only offer one type of noodles—traditional, thin ramen noodles made from wheat. Some restaurants, however, may allow you to choose between thick and thin noodles. In this case, the thicker noodles are heavier, chewier, and probably better suited for a thicker broth like tonkatsu. Some restaurants may also give you the option of enjoying your ramen with really thick soba noodles, although this is not very traditional.
Hopefully ordering ramen does not seem as confusing now. It all comes down to picking your broth, your noodles, and your toppings.