Local Flavor Tokyo’s Hot Noodle Dish. Comfort in a Bowl of Ramen Soup
by Daisuke Utagawa, Executive summary by darmansjah
prepairing ramen at Inoue
WHEN SOMEONE mentions ramen, you probably think of those store bought dried noodles you bring to life with boiling water and a packet of spices. In Tokyo, ramen noodle soup is not fast food; it’s an art form. Complexly flavored, the perfect bowl of ramen combines clear broth with wheat noodles, slices of roasted pork, seasoned bamboo shoots, and chopped green onions. This aromatic stock-meat, vegetable, or seafood-contains up to 40 ingredients and is simmered for hours. The noodles, from thin to wavy, are aged for up to ten days in a cool place to achieve their peak flavor and textures.
It’s thought that missionaries brought ramen from china to Japan in the 17th century. But it wasn’t until 1910 that Japan’s first ramen shop-Rairaiken-opened in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, an area of merchants and artisans. It served simple Chinese noodle soup modified with traditional Japanese ingredients-dried fish, seaweed, and soy sauce. Today, the nation boasts more than 30 regional varieties of ramen, and nearly 4,000 places sell it in Tokyo alone. The dining routine never varies: Wait in line, order, squeeze into a seat, and slurp quickly so the next person can take your place.
In Tokyo, locals line up at Inoue’s outdoor stand near Tsukiji Market for classic shoyu (soy-based ramen), its golden noodles nestled in auburn broth and topped with pork and bamboo shoots. Sixty-year-old Raishuken, in Asakusa, adds wonton-men to its menu, silky dumplings floating over traditional ramen. In a narrow alley in Jinbochou, the tiny Saubchan serves hanchan, the ultimate ramen and fried rice combo.
Note : the noodles is one package of instant ramen would stretch the length of two tennis court.