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Originating in China, ramen has developed into a popular dish in Japan and throughout the world. Ramen consists of noodles, soup, and toppings, each with a great variety of choices. Certain regions of Japan specialize in shoyu, miso, shio, and tonkotsu soups, each with their unique taste. Japan has been attracting more and more people with just ramen itself. Some travel across the country to try the various kinds of ramen special to that part of Japan. Ramen festivals are also being held throughout the world, inviting Japanese ramen shops to present their best ramens. Ramen is enjoyed among those of all ages and is a very affordable dish, available throughout the country.
Seasoned with soy sauce, shoyu ramen is a clear, brown broth and goes well with curly noodles and toppings like chashu, menma, bean sprouts, green onion, fish cake, and seaweed. Shoyu is the most common flavor, offered by almost all ramen reataurants across Japan.
Seasoned with miso, miso ramen has a thick, brown broth and usually goes well with thick, curly noodles and toppings such as ground pork, corn, butter, onion, bean sprouts, cabbage, and sesame. Developed in Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan, this soup is especially soothing in cold weather. Although it lends a slightly sweet taste, many ramen restaurants offer it in different levels of spiciness.
Seasoned with salt, shio ramen has a clear, yellowish broth and goes well with thin, straight noodles and toppings like chashu, cabbage, onion, leek, and pickled sour plums. It is known to be the lightest ramen and is therefore recommended for those who are health conscious.
Tonkotsu ramen may be the most popular ramen in Japan today as well as here in Los Angels. Tonkotsu ramen has a thick, cloudy, white broth extracted from simmered pork bellies and bones. It goes well with thin, straight noodles and toppings like kakuni (braised pork belly), kelp, sesame seed and pickled ginger. Although it originated in Kyushu, the westernmost part of Japan, its creamy, rich flavor attracts many young ramen fans.
With its broth extracted from a wide variety of seafood such as dried bonito, anchovy, scallop, shrimp and seaweed. Seafood ramen has great depth of flavor and is very popular among health conscious women. Topped with many kinds of sauteed seafood, seafood ramen tends to be a little more expensive than the others.