Ramen Types - The Big 4 (2024)

Ramen is Japan's Ultimate Soul Food. Perhaps even the world's Ultimate Soul Food. There are now countless ramen types, from the heavy and thick to the light and springy. But if we start with the basics, there are 4 main ones, or as I call them, "The Big 4".

1. Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu (soy sauce) is at the center of Japanese cuisine. So it's no wonder that shoyu ramen was the first ever ramen. While there's an insane amount of shoyu ramen variety, the broth is normally brown in color and naturally carries a salty, tangy flavor. In Tokyo's version, curly noodles are often used.Photo: Washo (Sangenjaya, Tokyo)

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2. Shio Ramen

"Shio" literally means salt. But in a way, shio ramen can taste less salty than shoyu ramen. Its yellowish, clear broth has a contrastingly light and refreshing taste. The soup can be a blend of plenty of vegetables, along with chicken, and sometimes pork or fish. The noodles are usually straight and thin. Photo: Funamizaka (Ginza, Tokyo)

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3. Tonkotsu Ramen

Probably the most popular ramen type outside of Japan, tonkotsu ramen has a cloudy and white colored broth. This happens after pork bones are boiled for hours and hours, providing a creamy and almost milky flavor. We have the island of Kyushu to thank for tonkotsu ramen, which originally started out as street stall food. Photo: Urinbo (Asakusa, Tokyo)

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4. Miso Ramen

Miso ramen got its start at "Aji no Sanpei" in Sapporo, Hokkaido. While there are other miso ramen styles around the country, Sapporo's miso ramen is the most famous. It's known for being hearty and lardy - great for those cold Sapporo winters. In addition, butter and corn are fun, popular toppings. Photo: Funamizaka (Ginza, Tokyo)

Beyond the big 4, there are countless ramen types - whether regional specialties or modern ones out of Tokyo. What makes ramen wonderful is that it's constantly evolving.

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Ramen Types - The Big 4 (2024)


Ramen Types - The Big 4? ›

You often see ramen categorized into four classes: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (fermented bean paste), and tonkotsu (pork), which doesn't make particular sense, as the first three are flavorings, while the fourth is the broth base.

What are the different types of ramen stocks? ›

But the main way ramen is categorized is by its primary flavor, which comes from how its broth is made. There are four general classes of ramen: shoyu, tonkotsu, miso, and shio. Here's what you need to know about these four types of ramen.

What is the most famous type of ramen? ›

If you're in Tokyo, Shoyu is the most familiar form of ramen you'll find. Tonkotsu translates to “pork bone.” This broth is thick and cloudy white in color. The coloring and consistency come from the boiling of pork bones and fat on high heat for many hours (for some places, this means up to 20 hours).

What is the difference between Hakata ramen and tonkotsu ramen? ›

Tonkotsu ramen is now so synonymous with f*ckuoka that most people there simply call it “Hakata ramen,” with Hakata being a ward of the city (previously an independent town) where the dish originated. But it takes more than bone broth to make genuine Hakata ramen. You'll also need fine, ultra-thin ramen noodles.

What is shoyu ramen vs tonkotsu? ›

The main difference between Shoyu and Tonkotsu Ramen is the broth. Shoyu Ramen has a clear and light broth that is flavored with soy sauce, while Tonkotsu Ramen has a cloudy and thick broth that is made from pork bones. The broth affects not only the taste, but also the texture and appearance of the ramen.

What are the 5 elements of ramen? ›

“There are five basic elements to ramen: noodles, tare, broth, topping and aroma oil,” Sun Noodle's executive chef Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura says. “For a very long time people in Japan were very poor, so they couldn't eat regular proteins or meat.

What is Kyoto style ramen? ›

Generally, Kyoto ramen can be divided into three kinds. Originally, soy sauce based ramen with clear soup made from cattle was popular, but recently heavy ramen with vegetables added to chicken or pork based soup, or back fat on top of chicken based soup are seen, and a variety of ramens can be enjoyed.

What is the rarest type of ramen? ›

I tried Japan's rarest ramen flavor. It's called the Ice Ramen, and its ingredients are so insane. that only brave people are able to eat it, because you can only get it at the Ice Ramen restaurant, which is completely made of ice. Yes, the whole restaurant is actually made of ice.

What is the number 1 ramen in Japan? ›

1 Ramen (Tsukemen) Tomita's tsukemen is everything you'd expect it to be. It's the pinnacle of tonkotsu gyokai (pork and fish tsukemen).

What is the most difficult ramen? ›

While there are many good, humble bowls of shio out there, many ramen chefs see this as the most difficult type of ramen to make, since they can't rely on incredibly flavorful miso and soy sauce to provide the dimension their broth might otherwise lack.

What are the 4 types of ramen? ›

You often see ramen categorized into four classes: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (fermented bean paste), and tonkotsu (pork), which doesn't make particular sense, as the first three are flavorings, while the fourth is the broth base.

What is sapporo style ramen? ›

Sapporo is the birthplace of ramen noodles in miso broth, and the city's ramen is now one of Japan's top regional dishes. The classic dish features crinkled noodles with a medium thickness in miso broth, with seasonings such as bean sprouts and onion adding the perfect accent to the flavor.

What is Ichiban ramen? ›

Ramen is a very popular noodle soup and is easily available in Japan. Ichiban Ramen main philosophy was to introduce authentic Japanese ramen with chicken based soup so that all races in Malaysia get to savour Japanese ramen.

Which ramen broth is healthiest? ›

Shio is considered a healthier ramen because of the thinner broth. Instead of the flavor from fat in the liquid, it comes from salt and other seasonings. Keep it low in calories by minimizing the fatty toppings or adding more vegetables to your noodles.

What is the most popular type of ramen? ›

1. Shoyu. Shoyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce and this lighter-style ramen — which can appear clear-brown or darker and cloudy — is flavored with exactly that. It's the single most commonly found type of ramen and was invented in 1910 at a ramen shop named Rairaiken in Tokyo's Asakusa neighborhood.

Which ramen broth is creamy? ›

Tonkotsu ramen is a deliciously creamy pork bone broth traditionally served up with long thin noodles and topped with a variety of ingredients.

What stock is best for ramen? ›

Types of Ramen Broth

The first one is chicken broth made from chicken carcass. The second is a combination broth made from chicken and Japanese dashi stock. And the third is Tonkotsu which is made from pork bones.

Which broth is better for ramen? ›

Pork and chicken bones are the most common bones used in ramen broth, but products such as beef and duck also work very well. Combinations of bones are very common, such as both pork and chicken. Bones should be properly prepared before the long boil.

What is the difference between Tori paitan and Tori Chintan? ›

Paitan (白湯) (meaning “white soup”) is a thick, cloudy soup. Chintan (清湯) (meaning “clear soup”) is clear, exactly as the name implies. As an example, tonkotsu ramens are almost always paitans. These soups are thick and creamy.

What type of broth is Shin ramen? ›

'Nongshim Shin Ramyun that makes a man cry' was born again. The soft and chewy noodle combined with the spicy beef broth creates the perfect recipe that will please any palate. You might be surprised by the level of spiciness at first, but the delicious mélange of flavors will soon have you crave for more.

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