Shio vs. Shoyu Ramen (2024)

Shio and Shoyu ramen are probably two of the most identifiable ramen styles in the world. Both are incredibly delicious, but they are definitely different dining experiences.

Packed with flavor, Shio and Shoyu ramen broth are some of the most popular styles available in both ramen shops and instant noodle packages today.

This article is meant to explain the overall differences between the two styles and help you better understand which you might like better!

Shio vs. Shoyu Ramen: A tale of two delicious noodle bowls!

Ramen has a long and storied history; it also has about as many flavor combinations as there are stars in the sky, with new ones being created every day.

Everyone agrees that a variety of ramen flavors is a fantastic thing. There seem always to be 2 to 3 flavors that dominate in any good ramen joint, and Shio or Shoyu ramen are usually on that list.

While Shio and Shoyu style ramen soup might not appear that different to the casual ramen fan, for a true noodle addict, the differences are very evident. Both are delicious, filling bowls of noodles and broth, but the flavor profile where these two styles diverge.

How is Ramen even made?

Outside of the noodle itself, restaurant ramen is made from a fortified broth usually flavored with bonito or dried fish flakes that can be flavored in any number of different ways.

There are certainly ramen styles that deviate from this template, like tsukemen or dipping style noodles, but for the most part, ramen is a broth-based noodle dish with roasted meats and other toppings.

Because the base for ramen is so similar style to style, the flavorings, components, and garnishes become incredibly important to the flavor profile.

Additions like miso, salt, soy sauce, or kimchi seasoning can change the entire profile or your ramen experience; especially the underlying broth is made from ingredients that emphasize that flavor.

What is Shio Ramen?

Shio ramen is one of the most common and classic forms of ramen noodle soup.

At its core, Shio ramen is simply a clear broth ramen soup, heavily seasoned with salt, which is what Shio means in Japanese.

Shio Ramen broth can be made from any number of proteins or ingredients, from roasted chicken to pork tonkotsu ramen, or fish and vegetable bases, but the commondenominator is always salt.

Unlike heavier or darker flavored broths, Shio ramen is usually lighter and brighter, with more delicate flavors. Perfect for a light meal or as a blank palate for your own additions, shio ramen is a classic ramen shop flavor.

If your looking for good examples of Shio instant ramen, classic styles like Sapporo noodles are probably the best example. While some may say that Shio ramen isn't interesting enough, sometimes a bright, clear broth with just a touch of salt is just what you need in your life.

What is Shoyu Ramen?

Shoyu ramen, like shio ramen, is a more classic or traditional ramen broth, and it is by far the most common ramen style you'll see in ramen shops or stands today.

Made from a rich, bonito flavored broth and spiked with a touch of dark soy sauce, this hyper addictive broth is packed with umami flavor. Shoyu means soy sauce in Japanese, and that is where this ramen style gets its name.

Because of the soy sauce addition, you'll most often find Shoyu ramen made from richer proteins and soup ingredients. Ramen Chefs from all around the world love the simplicity and classic flavor of this ramen because it's hearty while still light in flavor.

One of the most classic Shoyu styles is Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen. Made from rich roasted pork bones with bonito and topped with perfectly roasted chashu as well as a soft-boiled egg, Tonkotsu broth ramen is definitely a gold standard for many ramen enthusiasts.

The combination of the rich roasted pork broth, the natural umami from the bonito, and the heavily roasted flavors of dark soy sauce, Shoyu Tonkotsu ramen, reaches a level of umami that can leave you breathless as you dive in for your next bite.

While meat-based ramen noodles and shoyu broth are an absolutely classic combination, Shoyu also works perfectly with heartier vegetable flavors like rich mushroom broths. The natural umami qualities of mushrooms, dried and fresh, perfectly complement the deep, dark soy sauce flavor or shoyu ramen.

Shoyu Instant Ramen Noodles aren't quite as common as the Shio style, but they are definitely available. The Vegetarian Soy Sauce Ramen from Mike's Mighty Good Craft Ramen is truly one of the best examples of a quality vegan version of Shoyu ramen in an instant cup style ramen package.

Salt vs. Soy Sauce and the effect on flavor.

Salt and Soy Sauce both add a ton of flavor to ramen broth, but they do so in different ways.

Salt is a much purer flavor and is actually one of the 5 (or 6 depending on who you talk to) primary taste senses. Table salt is a very simple molecule that adds salinity to food, improving and increasing flavor.

For many Chefs, Salt isn't a spice but a seasoning that improves or increases flavor rather than adding additional flavor to a dish.

When you add salt to Shio broth, you increase the already intense flavors of the flavor-packed bonito stock. Shio ramen is excellent for broths with delicate flavors that you want to improve or increase because the salt sets the flavor rather than masking it.

Shoyu ramen is definitely intended to build to a new flavor level rather than solely improving upon the already incredible flavor of the ramen broth.

Soy sauce adds salt to any ramen broth, but it also introduces the deep, unique flavors that come from long, long soybean fermentation. Like miso ramen, Shoyu ramen broth is packed with a unique flavor all its own beyond the base flavors of the stock's ingredients.

Other types of delicious ramen noodles

Beyond these two incredible styles of ramen broth, there is a world of different types, both instant and fresh, to choose from. Whether you're looking for something spicy, packed with roasted garlic flavor, or a unique blend of miso paste and traditional ramen flavors, there is absolutely a new flavor out there for you.

Miso Ramen

Made from a unique fermented soybean paste called miso, there are so many variations on this flavor it's hard to keep track of them all.

While miso isn't a super familiar flavor in most everyday dishes, there are as many different styles of miso as there are types of cheese in the world, and this means you can find a perfect blend for you.

Whether you're adding miso to your own ramen noodles or starting with an incredible miso instant ramen noodles like the Savory Miso Ramen from Mike's Mighty Good Craft Ramen, you're in for a treat.

Kimchi Ramen

Kimchi is a traditional Korean spicy cabbage pickle beloved worldwide, but when you combine that flavor with ramen noodles, you create an absolutely insane combination.

Kimchi seasoning can be added to the broth as a finishing ingredient to add just a touch of kimchi flavor to your broth. Alternatively, you can drop a few spoonfuls of fresh kimchi into your noodle soup to add more texture and body.

If you're looking for a great pack of instant ramen with a ton of kimchi flavor, the Vegetarian Kimchi Ramen from Mike's Mighty Good is a great place to start. Packed with kimchi flavor and a ton of spice, you'll enjoy sweating through every bite.

Chicken and Roasted Garlic.

Chicken and garlic ramen is a pretty stark departure from some of the more classic flavor combinations, but it makes a ton of sense from a flavor standpoint.

Garlic and chicken make an incredible combination. When you add the umami from ramen broth to the mixture and punch it into the stratosphere with a bowlful of perfectly cooked noodles, you get a chicken noodle soup that's close to a religious experience.

Unique chicken-flavored instant ramen noodles are becoming far more popular, but one of the tastiest styles options around is the Fried Garlic Chicken Ramen from Mike's Mighty Good Craft Ramen.

Which Ramen Reigns Supreme?

At the end of the day, whichever ramen you prefer is the right ramen for you.

While you can spend days debating the different qualities of the two, what it boils down to is really, which style do you like best.

Shio ramen is perfect for a light, flavorful bowl of ramen noodles. The salt improves upon the already incredible flavors in the broth without masking or obscuring the flavor.

Shoyu ramen is the perfect example of the synergy between flavors. By adding shoyu to the ramen broth, the deep, rich flavor of the soy sauce combines with the base flavors of the ramen stock to create something wholly new and incredible.

Both of these styles of ramen have a time and a place, and that is whenever you are hungry and ready for a delicious bowl of ramen noodle soup. Whichever type you choose, both Shoyu and Shio Ramen are sure to please.

Shio vs. Shoyu Ramen (2024)


Shio vs. Shoyu Ramen? ›

A: Each type of ramen has its own distinct flavor profile. Shio ramen is salty, Tonkotsu ramen is rich and creamy, Miso ramen has a savory and slightly sweet taste from the miso paste, and Shoyu ramen has a savory and slightly salty flavor from the soy sauce used in the broth.

What flavor is shio ramen? ›

In fact, shio translates to “salt,” and sea salt is considered the oldest form of ramen seasoning. Typically, a shio broth is made with chicken or pork base. You can identify this broth both by it's extremely salty flavor, as well as it's clear yellow coloring.

What's the difference between shoyu and shio ramen? ›

Shio ramen is excellent for broths with delicate flavors that you want to improve or increase because the salt sets the flavor rather than masking it. Shoyu ramen is definitely intended to build to a new flavor level rather than solely improving upon the already incredible flavor of the ramen broth.

What does shoyu ramen taste like? ›

Shoyu ramen is a ramen dish with a broth made of soy sauce. Shoyu means soy sauce in Japanese. It has high umami flavors along with a tangy strong taste too. Shoyu ramen is also known for its sprint noodles and array of toppings.

Is shio ramen salty? ›

Saltiness isn't its distinguishing feature, since all ramen is quite salty. Rather, a shio ramen is one in which the main contributor of salinity to the flavor base is salt—not miso or soy sauce. Beyond that, almost anything goes.

Is shio or miso ramen better? ›

Shio or Shoyu flavored soups merely accent the flavor of the underlying broth, while miso leaves a fuller complex taste in the mouth since it also has a strong taste of its own.

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.

What are the four most popular types of ramen? ›

Ramen Types - The Big 4
  • Tangy Shoyu.
  • Bright Shio.
  • Milky Tonkotsu.
  • Savory Miso.
Dec 24, 2018

Which ramen is creamy? ›

Originating from modern-day f*ckuoka and lending its mouthwatering fragrance to Tokyo's Asakusa region, tonkotsu ramen is made from boiling pork bones for hours until it brings a creamy cloudy look to the tonkotsu broth.

Is shoyu ramen heavy? ›

1. What Is Shoyu Ramen? Shoyu ramen features a clear, brown broth with a chicken or vegetable stock base and soy sauce. In fact, “shoyu” means “soy sauce” in Japanese, giving it a salty and tangy flavor that won't be too heavy on the taste buds.

Is shoyu ramen thick? ›

Heavy shoyu ramen, such as Iekei or Yokohama ramen uses relatively thick (about 1.6-1.7mm) noodles that are reverse-cut (thickness is larger than width). On the opposite side, there are light shoyu soup with clean finish. The soup may be made of chicken and seafood like dry sardines.

What is the least salty ramen? ›

Tonkotsu ramen has the least amount of sodium

And the noodles have 1.8 grams of sodium.

What is the saltiest ramen broth? ›

Shio ramens gets its salty flavor primarily from salt rather than soy sauce or miso. Broth for shio ramen also tends to be much lighter in color which I felt was fitting for this particular recipe.

What flavor is Sapporo Ichiban shio ramen? ›

Chicken flavor but better

If you expect a more general bone brothy and salty flavor, you'll have to find an alternative.

What is the flavor of shio broth? ›

Shio ramen is flavored with sea salt, which is the perfect salt to flavor chicken broths and sauces. The sea salt is not overpowering in the chicken stock and still lets the clear broth base and toppings come through on their own. Shio ramen broth is lighter and thinner than other varieties.

What does shio sauce taste like? ›

As is, shio koji has a salty, umami taste, reminiscent of soy sauce. However, it also has slightly sweet and floral notes, because of the koji it contains. Lemon, onion, or garlic can also be added during fermentation to create an even more flavourful shio koji.

What are the 4 flavors of ramen? ›

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.

What is the difference between shio and tonkotsu? ›

Classifications for the Broths. 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.

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