If you travel Japan, you may find many ramen-ya, noodle restaurants. There are many sushi restaurant(including famous mawaru sushi `conveyr belt sushi'), there is not many place you can order sukiyaki, instead, Gyudon-beef bowl is easier to find, it is like sukiyaki on a bowl of rice).
Ramen is originally from China but became everyone's soulfood in Japan. You can find ramen restaurants almost everywhere all over Japan. They are not fancy restaurants, rather inexpensive restaurants you can go with everyday clothes and not worry about how much you need to pay. Ramen are served quickly, in a way, it is like fast food(some restaurants have no chair, only stand) but popular ramen restaurants have a long que. At the front of those restaurants, people wait in line, sometimes more than an hour and people believe it is worth waiting. Ramen is noodle soup, we were surprised to hear ramen are considered as `soup' in some foreign countries. More over we are really surprised to hear there are more and more ramen restaurants in big cities in foreign countries!
There are many ramen chain restaurants in Japan, and they have original noodle and soup. Thickness of noodles is a very big issue, and also using whether straight noodle or wavy noodle--- that is a big issue too. Like pasta, how much time you boil noodles also is very important too.
Soup is not simple, most restaurants have `secret'. Because of the complicated procedure- you have to take time to have perfect broth (not only from chicken, sometimes dried bonita and other things are added to have `umami', deicious taste, we do not make ramen soup at home. It seems like every one has favorite ramen restaurants.
There are many flavor of soup, syoyu(soy sauce) is standard, and white pork broth taste is very popular too. Simple salt taste and miso soup also are popular. Having ramen on cold day, is blissful time. Soup warms you both your body and also soul.
Recently we watched the news of ramen restaurants in NY. We thought customers must be tourists(Japanese) or people who has this culture of eating noodls by slurping, but actually, the ramen restaurat was full of New Yorkers!
We also found ramen restaurant in Barcelona is also quite famous and very popular.
Seeing New Yorkers eating ramen, it was like seeing one of those ramen restaurants around us. IF you travel Japan and have this experience of eating ramen at ramen-ya, the sllurping sound must have been a surprise - we hear hearing people eating noodles with the slurping sound is so uncomfortable thing for people abroad. It was so interesting, in this news program, they were introducing, `how to eat ramen' handbook!' and many people were enjoying ramen by eating this way!
In this video, the report from NY shows eating ramen is getting natural thing. A guy in the video even said he thinks it is excellent to eat ramen on cold days, that is what people feel about ramen here!
Ramen is not expensive and you can go with families or friends any time(there are many ramen restaurants who open until mid night!
This is one of the ramen chain restaurant. We like their ramen very much.
You may think it is hilarioius but just like way of tea, flower arrangement or some other martial arts, cooking ramen is considered to be` training' - there are many charismatic `master' of cooking ramen!
If you ask Japanese whether she or he likes ramen, everyone would say, mochiron(off course). Especially men seem to LOVE ramen. For busy businessmen, ramen is fastest and most familiar lunch. If you ask about ramen to young Japanese men, they will not be able to stop talking about their ramen preference.
Here is a museum of ramen in Yokohama-you can try many different taste:
There is ramen no uta(song of ramen), he sings how one bowl of ramen warmed his heart:
Do you feel like trying ramen? I hope you like ramen, try slurping to taste the soup and the noodle!