5 Steps to Order Ramen in Japan
Some of Tourists’ the biggest interest when they come to Japan is FOOD. Japanese ramen is one of the most popular foods in Japan even for Japanese. Personally, I tried Japanese ramen in Toronto but I prefer eating it in Japan. Today, I would like to share some tips for when you go to a Japanese ramen restaurant in order not to get confused and to get the order without any trouble.
1st Step. Find Ramen Shop
Nowadays you can find good information about ramen restaurant on the internet, from bloggers, or from your local friends. My advice is to go to the book store and, find the local information magazine. If you aren’t allergic to reading Japanese, try to go to the book store. You will find some magazines featuring only or mainly ramen there. The magazine has a lot of ramen pictures so it is not so difficult to find the good ramen you like.
Pictures of Ramen
But before you try to find a ramen restaurant, you’d better to know what kind of ramen Japan has. There are many types of ramen, but if we look at the bigger picture, we can find 3 main types; Shoyu ramen, Miso ramen, and Tonkotsu ramen. Shoyu ramen is Soy sauce based ramen, which is famous in Kanto area which includes Tokyo. Miso ramen is famous in Hokkaido, northern part of Japan. Tonkotsu ramen is poke based ramen. Ton(豚) means pork, and kotsu(骨) is bone, and it is famous in Kyushu area, which is the southern most island of Japan. Guess what?! Only Tonkotsu ramen has 2 unique points regarding the noodle!
2nd Step. Decide What Kind of Ramen and Topping
- Ramen・・・Default ramen with the original topping; green onion, cloud ear mushroom, two slices of pork.
- Aji-tama ramen・・・ Default ramen comes with a boiled egg marinated in soy and mirin.
- Cha-shu-men・・・Default ramen comes with many cha-shu which is pork slice.
- Kikurage-ramen・・・Default ramen comes with many kikurage which is cloud ear mushroom.
- Negi-ramen・・Default ramen adds many chopped green onion.
3rd Step. Decide the Hardness of the Noodle
As you can see, the level of the noodle hardness is Bari-kata; super hard, Kata; hard, Futsu; normal, and Yawa; soft. When they get the order they boil the noodle, so they can manipulate the hardness depending on how many minutes they boil it.
There is also a thing specific for Tonkotsu ramen, after finishing ramen it is possible to add only the noodle which is called Kae-dama. It is only around 1 USD so it is totally better than ordering 1 more ramen bowl if you want to eat more. But please be careful, you cannot order the soup so don’t finish the soup too! This option is generally for only Tonkotsu ramen restaurant. So if you go to other restaurant like Shoyu, or miso ramen restaurant, you probably will not be asked about it.
4th Step. Ordering
Okay, now you decide what you order. Then Let’s learn how to say in in Japanese.
Ramen wo hitotsu. Bari-kata de.
It means “I’ll do one bowl of ramen with bari-kata(super hard).” In this case, the ramen is tonkotsu ramen because it’s only the ramen you can choose the hardness.
Kikurage Ramen wo mittsu. Hitotsu wa Bari-kata, futatsu wa kata de.
It means “I’ll do three bowls of cloud ear mushroom ramen. One for bari-kata, two for kata”
Kaedama wo hitotsu, bari-kata de
It means “Can I get Kaedama with bari-kata?” Again, Kae-dama is only an option for tonkotsu ramen. They bring only noodle addition to your bowl so don’t finish the soup too otherwise you will eat only noodle haha.
Kore wo futatsu.
Actually you don’t need to say the name, because you have the menu so you can use that and say “I’ll do this.”
5th Step. Slurp and Enjoy!
Finally you came to the fifth and final step. You can order the ramen which you guys want! Don’t hesitate slurp it. It is totally okay and normal to make some noise when you eat it even in the public space. I hope you can have a good ramen exerience in japan.
Taka, Aquarium manager