Ramen Glossary

Hey everyone.  I realize that a large number of my readers do not live in Japan, do not understand Japanese and/or don't know ramen-related terms that I use.  So I've created this glossary of relevant terms. It's not perfect, but I'll update it as I learn more, and give examples when I can.

Abura Soba - A kind of ramen-like noodle dish that has no broth.  Typically to make up for this, abura soba shops offer a wide variety of toppings and spices, and after adding them to your liking, you mix the noodles up with your chopsticks.  Examples: Menya KatsuJunk Garage.

Assari - An adjective that describes lighter, more refreshing ramen.  Also see kotteri.

Chashu - Roasted pork.  Slices, cubes, or fatty chunks, this can be found in nearly every bowl of ramen.

Dashi - A very light seafood-based soup that is used in a number of Japanese dished.  In ramen, it's often used in wari-soup to reheat and thin out remaining tsukemen broth.

Gyokai - Fish, or seafood.  It's often used in describing the broth.  Also see gyokai tonkotsu.

Gyokai tonkotsu - A combination of gyokai and tonkotsu, i.e., fish and pork bone.  This is generally used to describe the broth of rich tsukemen. Examples: GunjoRamen Jackson's.

Kakuni - Stewed pork.  This is less common, but super fatty and delicious.  Examples: Ramen Jackson's.

Kotteri - An adjective that describes thicker, richer, and heavier ramen.  Also see assari.

Menma - Bamboo shoots.  These are thick and have a strong taste.  These can be found in many bowls of ramen.

Miso - One of the common flavors of ramen, miso ramen is usually rich, and sometimes spicy.  Sapporo, Hokkaido is thought of as the origin of miso ramen.  Examples: Ramen 3738 and Sumire.

Ra-yu - A spicy Chinese chili oil.  It can be found on the side along with vinegar at many ramen shops.

Ramen - You managed to get pretty far on this blog without knowing what ramen is, eh?  The noodle dish this blog is centered around; noodles in a broth typically made from pork and with a tare made of some combination of soy sauce, salt, and miso.

Shichimi - A spice that's a combination of seven other spices; "shichimi" literally means "seven tastes".  Shichimi is can be found in many Japanese restaurants.

Shio - Salt.  One of the common flavors of ramen, shio is typically very light and easy to drink.  Examples: ShiogensuiTenbijo Ramen Iizumi.

Shoyu - Soy sauce.  One of the common flavors of ramen, soy sauce broths tend to be light and very classic, but there are more interesting ones as well.  Examples: Ramen Jinsei JETKadoya Shokudo.

Tantanmen - If ramen is the Japanese knockoff of a similar Chinese noodle dish, then tantanmen is the Japanese knockoff of Chinese dandan noodles.  Tantanmen has a spicy orange broth, or sometimes no broth at all, with ground pork, onions, and sesame.  Examples: Goma GomaMaramen Yanyan.

Tonkotsu - Pork bone.  One of the common flavors of ramen, tonkotsu broths tend to be porky and fatty.  Fukuoka is known as the main location to get tonkotsu ramen.  Examples: ZundoyaIppudo.  Also see gyokai tonkotsu.

Torigara - The parts of a chicken used in some ramen.  Often used in conjuction with other ingredients to flavor broths.  Examples: TenkaippinRamen Cliff.

Tsukemen - A noodle dish like ramen, but with the noodles separated from the broth.  Tsukemen tends to have thicker more absorbant noodles, and much richer broth that can sometimes be like a sauce.  Examples: TokiyaTsukemen Suzume.

Wari-soup - Extra soup that is poured into the remaining tsukemen broth after all the noodles have been eaten.  Tsukemen broth tends to be very thick, so wari-soup is usually thin, and hot so as to reheat the rest of the soup.  Examples: Mendokoro IshinTsukemen Misawa.

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