Part III: Ramen Innovation
Countless ramen shops compete to develop the "ultimate" gourmet ramen dish in Japan, serving bowls of fresh ramen to customers. Toppings, noodle textures, and soup flavor combinations are all continually being experimented with. These ramen establishments typically use a variety of high-quality flours that have been expertly mixed to create their noodles. The look of ramen noodles can vary; they might be straight, curly, or medium to thick in thickness. The kuchinashi gardenia colorant, which is added to the noodles to make them appear more delicious, is what gives ramen its distinctive yellow color, but the soup is what makes it so intriguing. To stock that mostly contains chicken or pig, Japanese cooks add kombu, katsuobushi dry bonito flakes, dried sardines or other dried fish, dried shrimp, or dried scallops. All of these components form umami, which considerably enhances flavor. Hog bones are simmered for days to produce a rich broth that is high in ash and collagen for various recipes. The popular Japanese ramen chains have locations in numerous cities throughout the world, and Western tourists also enjoy these substantial soups.
There are three primary types of ramen: tonkotsu ramen, the hearty pig bone salt soup popular in Kyushu, shoyu ramen, the soy sauce-based Kanto version, and miso ramen, the miso-based soup of Hokkaido. Every area in Japan has its own peculiar ramen flavor. Chashu grilled pig is a frequent topping, but regional ramen typically has a unique local ingredient, such chicken, crab, or shellfish. From northern Hokkaido to the farthest southern tip of Okinawa, one may experience and appreciate a really "gourmet ramen" voyage thanks to Japan's apparently unlimited diversity of distinctive ramen types.