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.


  1. Thanks for post.This is helpful when you are into discovering new angles for ramen tasting.

  2. Best ramen in Rochester is ramen in Fuji Sushi! But no ramen restaurant puts as much meat as I'd put if I made it myself lol.