A bowl of ramen is a wonderfully comforting thing. The steaming broth, the springy noodles and the carefully prepared toppings are unique in every shop you visit. There’s also a fun duplicity in that some consider it to be junk food, while others line up for hours at Bib Gourmand and Michelin ramen restaurants.
Naturally, not all ramen bowls are created equal. Tokyo prefers a soy sauce base, while Sapporo is known for their miso bases and decadent corn and butter toppings.
I can’t forget tsukemen, in which the noodles are served separately to, and dipped in, the broth. Another popular style, and perhaps my personal favourite, is Hakata ramen, also known as tonkotsu ramen. An everyday meal it is not, but an essential one when visiting Fukuoka.
Tonkotsu Ramen, aka Hakata Ramen
As the name suggests, this style of ramen originated in Hakata, a district of Fukuoka city on the island of Kyushu.
The soup broth of Hakata Ramen is made by boiling pork bones with other seasonings such as garlic and onion. (What’s not to like, so far?) The secret to its notable rich flavour, though, is time. I once asked a ramen chef how long he boils his tonkotsu broth for each day, to which he laughed and simply replied “Himitsu”, or “It’s a secret.”
Just assume that it’s going to be upwards of 8 hours at a rolling boil—some even take a few days. The result of all this care is a thick, opaque broth, absolutely packed with a rich, pork flavour that simply can’t be beat.
Thin noodles are quickly boiled in water and added to the broth when they’re still a tad hard in the middle. This is said to have been for the benefit of local fish market workers who needed their cheap meal, like, yesterday.
(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on February 10, 2021. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)
Author: Team JJ