Are you a fan of ramen? Maybe you’ve noticed that this delicious Japanese noodle soup has taken the world by storm in recent years. But what is it about ramen that makes it so popular?
Ramen is popular in the United States, with the average American consuming around 7 servings of instant noodles annually. This places the US in 18th place globally for per capita consumption of instant noodles, just behind Saudi Arabia and above Canada. Americans consume around 1.7 billion servings of ramen each year, making it the 5th highest consumer of the dish in the world.
In the rest of the blog, I will discuss the reasons why ramen has become so popular in recent years. I will also talk about its history and the different types of ramen that you should try.
Is Ramen actually so popular?
Ramen has been around for quite some time, originating in Japan in the late 1800s. But it’s not just a Japanese staple anymore – it has become a worldwide phenomenon!
Especially in the United States, ramen has exploded in popularity in recent years. So, what’s the deal?
The answer is simple – ramen is delicious! But let’s take a closer look at what makes this noodle soup so special.
1. The Broth
At the heart of every bowl of ramen is the broth, and trust me, it’s worth the hype. The broth is made by simmering a combination of pork or chicken bones, veggies, and seasonings for hours, resulting in a rich and flavorful base that will make your taste buds sing. Plus, all those nutrients that have been extracted from the ingredients will do your body good.
2. The Noodles
Now, let’s talk about the noodles. Ramen noodles are truly special. They’re made with wheat flour, water, and kansui – an alkaline solution that gives them their unique yellow color and chewy texture. And when they’re cooked to perfection, they’re the perfect complement to the broth.
3. The Toppings
Okay, so this is where the ramen really shines! The toppings are where you can really get creative and make your ramen your own. Whether you prefer sliced pork, boiled eggs, scallions, seaweed, bamboo shoots, or something else entirely, the toppings add texture, flavor, and nutrition to the dish.
4. The Experience
Ramen isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience. When you step into a ramen shop, you’ll be greeted with a lively and energetic atmosphere where you can watch the chefs prepare your noodles and broth. It’s a communal experience that brings people together over a delicious bowl of soup. You’ll hear the sounds of slurping noodles and sipping broth, which adds to the excitement of it all.
5. Unique Flavor Profile
Another thing that makes ramen so unique is its flavor profile. The broth is rich and flavorful, while the noodles provide a satisfying texture. It’s a combination of umami-rich soy sauce and the subtle sweetness of mirin, which creates a taste that is truly one-of-a-kind.
What’s great about ramen is that it’s customizable, which has contributed to its popularity. You can add your favorite toppings and choose from a variety of broth flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy or mild or prefer pork or chicken, there is a ramen recipe out there that is perfect for you.
Not only is ramen delicious, but it’s also an affordable dish. You can find it in most Asian restaurants or even in the instant form at your local grocery store. This affordability has made it a popular choice for college students and budget-conscious individuals.
8. Social Media
Lastly, social media has played a significant role in the popularity of ramen. Thanks to platforms like Instagram and TikTok, people can share pictures and videos of their favorite ramen dishes, which has led to a rise in interest and curiosity about the dish. Colorful and creative ramen dishes have become an Instagrammable food trend, making it even more appealing to try out.
The History of Ramen
Did you know that this mouthwatering dish has its roots in China? Yes, you heard it right! Back in the 1800s, the Chinese called it Lamian, which means “pulled noodles.”
Fast forward to the late 19th century, and Ramen made its way to Japan thanks to Chinese immigrants. From there, it quickly became a household favorite and a staple food in Japan.
Initially, Ramen was considered a quick and affordable meal option for working-class folks. However, as time passed, it evolved into a more refined and sophisticated dish that people of all classes could enjoy.
Isn’t it amazing how this simple dish traveled across borders and evolved into the delicious bowl of noodles the world knows and loves today?
Types of Ramen
There are several types of ramen, each with its own unique flavor profile and origin. Here are a few of the most popular types:
First up, we have shoyu ramen. This classic ramen features a broth that’s made with soy sauce, which gives it a savory and slightly salty flavor. It’s a widely available option that you can find in most ramen shops.
Next, we have tonkotsu ramen. This rich and creamy ramen hails from southern Japan and is made with pork bones. The broth is simmered for hours, which gives it a deep, meaty flavor. If you’re a fan of hearty, savory dishes, tonkotsu ramen is definitely worth a try.
Last but not least, we have miso ramen. This type of ramen is popular in northern Japan and features a broth that’s made with miso paste. The result is a savory and slightly sweet flavor that’s sure to warm you up on a cold day.
From its humble beginnings as a simple noodle soup in Japan to a worldwide phenomenon, it’s no wonder that ramen has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of so many people.
It’s not hard to see why ramen has become a beloved dish all over the world. The rich and savory broth, the tender noodles, the variety of toppings – all of these elements work together to create a culinary experience that is truly unforgettable.
Whether you’re a seasoned ramen aficionado or a newcomer to the game, there’s no denying that ramen is here to stay.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a bowl of ramen and enjoy the experience, the flavor, the customization, and the affordability. Don’t forget to take a picture of the ‘gram!