Happy National Ramen Day 2024! Explore the 4 classic types of ramen

Celebrate National Ramen Day this April 4th with a guide to the four classic types of ramen: Shoyu, Tonkotsu, Miso, and Shio.
🏰 OLD ANIME VIBE [lofi beats / jazzhop mix]
🏰 OLD ANIME VIBE [lofi beats / jazzhop mix] / Ramen Lo-Fi

Yes, yes. You read that right: today, April 4, is National Ramen Day, a day where we celebrate 90% of my personal diet.

Yes, I'm aware that's a lot of sodium.

Ramen is more than just a bowl of noodles - it’s a culinary canvas, a masterpiece of broth, noodles, toppings, and all the love in the world. Originating from Japan, this dish has captured hearts worldwide, offering a comforting embrace in every spoonful. And there are four legendary pillars of Ramen: Shoyu, Tonkotsu, Miso, and Shio.

As a self-proclaimed Ramen fanatic, I have consumed this deliciousness ever since I can remember. In my young days, my parents offered it for dinner when they were tired or when it was really cold and we wanted to feel all warm and tingly on the inside. As I grew, I experimented with making my own broths and spicing things up with more toppings. And now, I have Ramen recipes that vary from the quick ones I make when I'm alone and working from home to the fancy ones for when I have friends and family over, or when I'm just trying to impress my picky 7-year-old twins. Yes, my twins also love Ramen and have their own bowls and chopstick sets. Proud mom right here.

Cam's professional advice: If you're a spicy food lover like myself, adding a touch of your personal favorite hot sauce works miracles when it comes to flavor and clearing up your sinuses. My personal favorite hot sauce is the almighty Cholula. Yes, a Latin hot sauce poured into an Asian delicacy. Blasphemy? Perfection? Whatever you call it, it does it for me. Also, don't forget your food allergies: I am allergic to eggs, so you'll never find a hardboiled egg in my dish unless I'm feeling adventurous. (Kidding, I'd go to the hospital in two seconds. Please respect your food allergies!!)

Let’s dive into each one and discover the myriad of possibilities and ways to top off your bowl.

1. Shoyu Ramen: The Soy Sauce Sensation

First off the starting block is Shoyu Ramen, a classic with a clear, brown broth made heavenly with soy sauce (shoyu). It's like the Beatles of Ramen - timeless, beloved, and always hits the right notes. What we get from this deliciously slurpable dish is a bowl filled with curly noodles, swimming in a savory broth that’s perfectly balanced with a soy sauce kick.

Topping Triumphs: Bamboo shoots, green onions, and a slice of naruto (fish cake) for that pop of color and texture. A perfectly boiled egg, marinated in soy and mirin, adds a silky richness that melds beautifully with the broth.

2. Tonkotsu Ramen: The Creamy Dream

Next up, we have the Tonkotsu Ramen, the heartthrob of Ramen lovers. This broth is a creamy, pork-based wonder that’s simmered for hours to achieve its rich, milky goodness. It’s like diving into a cloud of porky delight, with each sip more comforting than the last.

Topping Triumphs: Thinly sliced pork belly that melts in your mouth, wood ear mushrooms for a bit of crunch, and a soft-boiled egg that’s just begging to be poked open and mixed into the broth. Green onions and sesame seeds sprinkle an extra layer of flavor and texture.

3. Miso Ramen: The Flavorful Fusion

Miso Ramen is where tradition meets innovation. This bowl features a broth that’s a fusion of miso paste with chicken or fish stock, offering a rich, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor. It’s like a warm hug from a friend you haven’t seen in years - familiar yet excitingly new.

Topping Triumphs: Corn, butter, and sprouts bring sweetness and depth, while ground pork offers a savory bite. Don’t forget the bamboo shoots and green onions for that crunch and zing!

4. Shio Ramen: The Salty Sophisticate

Last but not least, Shio Ramen, the epitome of elegance in ramen form. With a clear, salt-seasoned broth, it’s the lightest of the four but don’t let that fool you - it’s packed with flavor. It’s like the minimalist art of the Ramen world; simple, yet profoundly beautiful.

Topping Triumphs: Seaweed, for a touch of the ocean, chicken or pork slices for the protein punch, and green onions and bamboo shoots for the final flourish. A lemon wedge on the side can add a bright twist when squeezed over the top.

Having some protein in your Ramen is important, because what’s a Ramen bowl without some hearty additions? From the classic char siu pork to chicken, beef, or even tofu for our plant-based friends, the options are endless. Each protein choice brings its unique flair to the bowl, transforming every bite into a new discovery. Plus, I like to say that it cancels all the sodium out. Spoiler alert: it probably doesn't. I'm a writer, Jim, not a health professional.

Actual footage of me eating my Ramen:

The beauty of Ramen lies in its versatility. Feel free to mix and match broths, noodles, toppings, and proteins to create your perfect bowl. National Ramen Day is all about celebrating this diversity and the joy of slurping up your favorite noodle dish.

So, on this April 4, grab your chopsticks (or fork, I don’t judge... much) and dive into a bowl of Ramen goodness. Whether you’re a die-hard ramen fan like myself or a curious newbie, there’s a Ramen bowl out there with your name on it.


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