ramen

The art of cooking ramen – Two foreigners find it’s a lot harder than they first thought 【Video】

If you grew up eating instant ramen noodles or survived through university on the stuff, you would probably scoff at someone who says that making ramen is difficult. They’re probably not talking about the just-add-boiling-water stuff you can find in your supermarket for 10 cents a pack, though – in Japan, true ramen doesn’t come easy, taking many hours to make the perfect broth and lots of skill and precision to serve up a perfect, steaming bowl of noodles.

If you’ve ever been to a ramen shop in Japan, the speed and accuracy with which the chefs whips up some noodles and broth makes it look super simple. But as American YouTuber Ramen Adventures found out, it’s a lot harder than it looks! Check out the video of his experience and see what all goes in to making a good bowl of ramen.

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Is super-salty Tokyo ramen too much umami for foreign tastes? 【Video】

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese hunger-busting food. With its combination of greasy, fatty soup combined with carb-heavy noodles, it’s the perfect meal for when you’re REALLY hungry in Tokyo (or just really hungover.) But that doesn’t mean that this taste is for everyone. In fact, there’re probably a lot of people out there who just can’t handle that heavy hit of garlicky, salty grease.

Our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley mentioned in her winning video entry that she really wanted to get a taste of Tokyo ramen. We accompanied her to Ramen Jiro to watch as her tastebuds tangled with the pungent umami of a bowl of their finest slurping fare. Unfortunately, Ashley soon realised that the reality of the truly salty ramen might be a little hard to swallow – along with the actual ramen itself! Check out our video report!

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Forget tech or medicine, invention most Japanese are proud of is instant ramen

Japan’s best minds have contributed quite a few important inventions to the world over the years. Did you know that the portable ECG machine was invented in Japan, for example? So were electric rice cookers, DSLR cameras, CD players, Blu-ray discs, and gaming systems. Really, the list of Japanese tech that has become integral to our daily lives goes on and on.

However, if you ask Japanese people which invention their country should be proud of, it turns out a far humbler product jumps to mind for most: instant noodles.

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Japan Railways recently revealed ramen-style rice balls in its convenience stores

Walk into any Japanese convenience store or supermarket, and you’ll find a row of rice balls waiting. You can always count on the old standards, such as salmon, pickled plum, and spicy cod roe being represented, but each store also sets aside a bit of shelf space for unique, limited-time versions as well.

In the past, this form of carbohydrate-packed one-upmanship has given us such wonders as the bacon cheeseburger musubi and headscratchers as the fish butt onigiri (musubi being one of the Japanese words for “rice ball,” and onigiri the other). It’s always a flip of the culinary coin whether these outside-the-box rice balls are going to be a hit or a miss, but when we heard about ramen-style onigiri, we were immediately onboard.

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The delicious food of Japan’s gourmet hospitals: Ramen, hotpot, smoked duck, and more

During my time in Japan, I’ve been thrown into a cherry blossom tree, hit by a car, and sucker punched by a wannabe tough guy in Shibuya Station, but luckily I’ve never needed to be hospitalized. That means I’ve been able to avoid the anxiety-filled situation of having a doctor explain an urgent medical procedure to me in a foreign language, but it also means I’ve been missing out on some of the mouth-watering food some Japanese hospitals serve.

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Actor transforms into horses, eats himself in new ad-Can you think of a better way to sell ramen?

When I was first exposed to Japanese commercials, it seemed like every one of them was off-the-rails insane. Filled with breathless rapid-fire speech punctuated by seemingly pointless pauses for some unknown dramatic or comedic effect, each ad seemed to be end as soon as it began, often giving little, if any, mention of its product.

Things seem to have calmed down considerably in recent years, though, with a trend towards a bit more restraint and comprehensibility, under the solid logic that if the audience is left paralyzed from their minds snapping as they try to process what they just saw, they won’t be able to go to the store and buy your products.

Still, every once in a while, a marketing team decides to just go for broke and tries to raise the bar for commercial craziness, and this new Cup Noodle ad, featuring one of Japan’s most popular actors, is about as weird as they come…and that’s before the horses with human faces and ramen on their heads show up.

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The Ramen Poster, a cute and unique way to show off your love of Japanese cuisine

Who doesn’t love ramen? Not only has this famous Japanese noodle dish won the hearts of many Asian cuisine aficionados, but its instant variety has long been the top pick by college students for satisfying the munchies during late night study binges.

If you, too, consider yourself a ramen lover or know someone who is, we urge you to check out The Ramen Poster by an American artist who has taken her love of hot noodles in broth to the next level.

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Anime store cancels plans to sell Love Live! noodles at midnight because of “safety” concerns

Idol anime Love Live! and instant noodles? We’re not sure if that’s exactly a match made in heaven, but we imagine there are plenty of fans ready to get their hands on these instant noodles, especially since snagging a box of the instant noodles gets you a limited edition clear file!

So, sensing that they were going to have a hit on their hands, the Akihabara branch of anime and manga merchandise store Animate initially decided to offer their truckload of instant noodles at the stroke of midnight. They were drumming up buzz on Twitter…until there was a last-minute change of plans!

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The latest in Japanese pet fashion: wearing an instant ramen bowl as a pet cone

A pet coming back from the vet with a cone around its head can elicit very conflicted emotions in the owner. On the one hand, the pet is clearly uncomfortable and just wants to lick away whatever pain they’re in. But on the other, they look absolutely ridiculous and – pangs of guilt or not – you really want to laugh at them.

But now Japanese Twitter users have discovered that cleaned-out instant ramen bowls make for perfect pet cones, and they’re showing off their pictures online.

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Step aside, Goku! Vegeta protects Earth from giant vegetables in new Dragon Ball ramen ad 【Video】

Even though spikey-haired Goku is undeniably the protagonist of classic (and soon to be new) anime Dragon Ball, we’re not sure it’s entirely accurate to call fellow Saiyajin Vegeta a “supporting character.” That’s because the widow’s peak-sporting martial artist would tell you that he’s actually the strongest fighter in the Dragon Ball universe, and his prideful insistence on doing things his way means that “supporting” others isn’t something he’s particularly amicable to doing.

Maybe that’s the reason that while Goku and the villainous Frieza are hawking cola, Vegeta is instead endorsing Cup Noodle’s new vegetable-packed variety of instant ramen, and starring in an action-packed, cabbage-crushing commercial while he’s at it.

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There’s something hiding beneath this mountain of ramen toppings, but it’s not ramen

Ramen is pretty well-known around the world as a hearty soup of plentiful ingredients. Sure there are variations from country to country, but at the end of the day, it’s all just noodles and broth with the necessary toppings to add character.

At least that’s how it used to be, before one ramen restaurant felt bold enough to reinvent the wheel and take the “men” (as noodles are called in Japanese) out of ramen. But what did they put in place of the lovely noodles that traditionally define ramen?

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Lotteria continues to try making burgers out of noodles, this time they brought rice to the party

Despite a rather weak track-record for its hamburgers with patties of noodles, fast-food chain Lotteria is back at it with the Moko Tanmen Burger. This time around they’ve also come up with the Moko Don Burger which uses a wad of rice as the patty. Good thing Dr. Atkins isn’t around to see this.

They say the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. We’re not sure what to call RocketNews24 reporter Mr. Sato then, because he is returning to Lotteria for a fourth time to try these noodley sandwiches in hopes of some redemption.

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Finish your bowl and your wildest dreams come true: We visit Yume wo Katare ramen shop in Boston

I’m going to be honest: I’m not a huge fan of going out to eat. It’s expensive, loud, usually not very healthy, and the stress of tip calculation gives me nightmares. In order for me to want to eat out, the place has to be special. It has to offer an experience that I would be unable to get anywhere else.

Yume wo Katare in Boston does just that. It’s an authentic Japanese-style ramen restaurant with a unique twist: you’re supposed to eat your massive bowl of ramen with a dream in your heart, then when you finish, you stand up and announce your dream to everyone inside. The waiters then judge your bowl based on how much you finished, and if you ate a lot then your dream just might come true.

Hearing that, we had to give it a try. So come along with us on our visit to Yume wo Katare!

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Ramen as religion? Gainax co-founder’s game has you run noodle restaurant with divine help

Anime studio Gainax has had a steady stream of animated successes since catching lightning in a bottle with 1995’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. Eva was actually Gainax’s grand return to animation, though, ending a four-year drought in which the studio didn’t produce a single anime of its own.

Gainax wasn’t spending those four years slacking off, though. The company branched out into video game production, with its biggest hit being Princess Maker, in which the player serves as guardian for a young girl in a medieval fantasy setting. The brainchild of Gainax co-founder Takami Akai, who also handled character designs for the game, Princess Maker was so popular that six sequels were made, and the franchise is credited with helping to popularize the “rearing” genre of Japanese games, in which gamers take care of an in-game character or pet as it grows.

It’s now been eight years since the last Princess Maker title was released, but Akai is back with a new game that deals with a subject close to the hearts and stomachs of many people: ramen.

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Pikachu instant ramen costs less than a buck, would be awesome even without the free stickers

If you have a penchant for eating right, you’re no doubt familiar with the importance of a balanced diet that includes all of the major food groups. But even if you’re making sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, have you got the Pikachu food group covered?

Sure, you already know how to make a Pikachu burger, but if you’re looking to up your Pokémon intake (and skip having to do any real cooking yourself), you can now buy quick, convenient, and adorable Pikachu ramen.

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Halal ramen comes to Tokyo with Asakusa restaurant, and it’s so good anyone will enjoy it

For decades, the international perception of ramen was that it was something for lazy college students to buy in bulk for when they wanted a quick, hot meal, with only minimal thought given to flavor or presentation. And while ramen does sometimes take that form, assuming it’s all like that is sort of like basing your whole image of pizza on microwavable frozen varieties.

Thankfully, there’s a ramen renaissance going on, as the rest of the world is getting onboard with just how delicious Japan’s favorite noodle dish can be. In response, some restaurants in Japan are adapting to make their food more accessible to foreign visitors, such as this restaurant in Tokyo that serves halal ramen.

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Chef and restaurant owner shows how to eat a bowl of ramen like a pro 【Video】

It seems to be a pretty well-known fact nowadays, but in case, you haven’t heard: slurping while eating is totally cool in Japan. One of the most commonly slurped foods is the delicious noodle dish ramen. Lately ramen has started taking off globally too, with restaurants popping up all over the place. So before things get too crazy, one ramen shop owner wants to teach you how to eat a bowl of ramen.

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The legality of adding free green onions to your ramen

Lots of restaurants offer condiments for customers to use freely, but how “freely” are they actually meant to be used. For example, one ramen shop in Japan had a poster offering to let customers take as much green onion as they want, until someone came in and did just that.

The patron piled on about two bowlfuls of diced scallions per single bowl of soup, because apparently that’s the way he likes it. After a few repeat visits the staff interceded and asked that the customer cool it with the onions.

So, who is in the right? Was the gluttonous customer abusing the kind offer of the restaurant, or should the shop stand by its explicitly written offer? Japanese legal website Bengoshi News called in a lawyer to find out.

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Vegetarian ramen in Tokyo? Not only is it available, it’s apparently pretty great too!

Japan is filled with excellent food, but one of our absolute favorites is ramen. There’s just something (possibly everything) about it that’s absolutely delicious. That said, it does present a problem for vegetarians and vegans, since even the broth uses a fairly copious amount of animal products. Now, you may not care about that, but maybe you have a few friend who do. Or maybe you’re just looking for new takes on traditional food. If so, T’s Tantan, a vegetarian ramen restaurant, is just what you’ve been looking for.

We recently sent one of our Japanese writers to check it out, and now you can read his report below and then go try it out for yourself! Or at least tell all your vegetarian friends about it. We promise they’ll love you if you do!

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We try some chicken ramen-flavored ice cream at Chikira-House in Osaka

Alongside Kit Kat bars, carbonated beverages, and potato chips, ice cream is one food Japanese flavor engineers love to monkey with. In the past we’ve seen frozen desserts flavored with great tastes such as scallops, vegetables, and pork.

This time we caught word of a little shop in Shin-Osaka Station offering travelers the cold and creamy taste of chicken ramen-flavored ice cream. So we hopped a train over to check it out and grab a self-heating chiki-bento while we were at it.

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