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The King of Budget-friendly Foods

One of the main reasons why foreign travelers visit Japan is that they would like to enjoy Japanese food. Sushi, tempura and sukiyaki have been thought to be typical Japanese foods, but they are, if anything, high-class dishes for Japanese people.
On the other hand, the B-grade cuisine, a Japanglish phrase meaning budget-friendly but tasty local food, is getting attention overseas. I introduce some examples of the cuisine on my latest post. Today, I introduce my favorite.

Ramen is a noodle made from wheat flour, salt, water, kansui alkaline water, and eggs. It was originally imported from China during the Meiji period.
The noodles vary in shape, width, and length. They are categorized by their thickness, the percentage of water used, their degree of wave, and their color. These criteria together affect the overall flavor.
The key factor to ramen is in the soup and how various ingredients go in to bring out the umami element. Soup is generally comprised of salt, soy sauce, miso, or other sauce bases. It is finished off by adding to this, animal-based broth such as pork bone or chicken bone, and the soup which may include small dried sardines, kelp, and other seafood or vegetable-based ingredients.
In fact, there are no rules with the soup. The complexity and diversity of it has recently drawn attention around the world. Here too, with toppings, there are no rules. I sometimes enjoy eating ethnic or Italian style ramen.

But standard toppings include seasoned, roast pork, seasoned bamboo shoots, green onion, soft-shimmered egg, and toasted seaweed sheets.

There are more than 35,000 ramen restaurants in Japan, so you can easily find any of them and taste countless regional variations. I hear it takes more than 2,000 yen to eat ramen in New York. Sounds ridiculously expensive!! Why don’t you eat your fill of authentic ramen in Japan?

YUKI Takano, a member of iTWS japan LLP
e-mail: yuki.takano@i3ws.co.jp

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