#504

Eating great ramen

Ramen is one of the most popular "B-gurume" (B-grade connoisseur) foods in Japan. Many chef's pride themselves for their soup, noodles, and toppings. In addition, it is a food where the chef's often begrudge people - their customers(?!!) - for asking for things differently. Watch the other people around you, this may provide hints as to what is popular or acceptable.

One of the best ways to eat what is famous is to ask, of course. But often, there are telltale signs in the menu. If a menu has an item called "special", or includes the Japanese character "特", it is a sure sign that this is what the chef recommends.

One of the things that many ramen restaurants expect you to ask to have customized is how well cooked you like your noodles. I like my noodles a bit on the firm side - "al dente" in Italian for the ideal pasta. This - "katame" in Japanese - is usually recommended for ramen, because the noodles continue to cook in the very hot soup - they end up just right as you are eating.

Enjoy - but don't forget to slurp!

mikekato image

mikekato

United States

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