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 Katsu, Junk 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: Gunjo, Ramen 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: Shiogensui, Tenbijo 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 JET, Kadoya 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 Goma, Maramen 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: Zundoya, Ippudo. 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: Tenkaippin, Ramen 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: Tokiya, Tsukemen 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 Ishin, Tsukemen Misawa.