No ramen...no life!
People all over the world love ramen and Japanese people are no exception.
All over Japan, different regions proudly have their own local ramen versions. It's called gotouchi ramen (ご当地ラーメン), which means 'regional ramen'.
People travel a long way to eat the authentic regional ramen noodles they love.
Some versions are so popular that restaurants serving them have opened all over Japan.
Sapporo Ramen (札幌ラーメン)
Noodles: Curly and thick
Sapporo Ramen is probably the most popular and famous of the regional ramens. It’s so famous that the name 'Sapporo’ reminds us of miso ramen. Corn and butter are often added to the thick miso soup, which are both typical ingredients in Hokkaido.
Hakata Ramen (博多ラーメン)
Soup: Tonkotsu (pork-bone)
Noodles: Thin and straight noodles
Hakata ramen is from Fukuoka Prefecture, but it is also popular all over Japan. The thick, creamy tonkotsu soup is a bit heavy for some, but the thin and straight noodles make it easier to finish the dish. In Hakata, it’s normal to order unlimited extra noodles until they drink up all the soup, or you get full!
Kitakata Ramen (喜多方ラーメン)
Soup: Shoyu (soy sauce)
Noodles: Wide, flat and curly noodles
Kitakata ramen is from Fukushima Prefecture. It is relatively light and features wide, flat and curly noodles which are not very common type of ramen noodle. There are lots of ramen lovers in the small town of Kitakata, so many in fact that they even have a custom called morning ra (朝ラー), which translates as 'eating ramen for breakfast.'
While these are the top three most famous and popular regional ramen versions, there are many more varieties around Japan!
Hakodate Ramen (函館ラーメン)
Soup: Shio (salt)
Noodles: Thin and straight
This is another ramen from Hokkaido - Hokkaido has many regional varieties. It's said that ramen first came to Hakodate and then spread to the rest of Japan. The light and clear soup is savory and it's easy to finish a whole bowl. This ramen is unique, as Hakodate is the only place that sells shio ramen as its regional ramen.
Yokohama Ie-kei Ramen (横浜家系ラーメン)
Noodles: Thick and straight
Originally, most ramen shops in Yokohama had 家, which means 'home', added to their shop names, which is why they are collectively called Ie-kei ramen. Usually these shops in Yokohama give you options for the thickness of the soup, hardness of the noodles, and so on. The noodles are generally shorter and chewier than other kinds.
Nagoya Taiwan Ramen (名古屋台湾ラーメン)
Noodles: Thin and straight
This ramen was first created by a Taiwanse-born chef who ran a ramen shop in Nagoya. He wanted to give the locals a taste of his homeland and so made a dish of Taiwanese local noodles. The soup is super hot, so make sure you come prepared with a towel for when you eat them!
We only introduced you to six varieties of regional ramen, but there are many more. It is said that there are more than 50 kinds of regional ramens, which is more than the number of prefectures in Japan!
Regional ramen has become a tourist attractions in many cities and you can even find guidebooks that specialise in touring Japan by regional ramenyas! Which regional ramen would you travel to Japan for?
Check out our current Ramen Pack, we always try to include regional noodles for you to enjoy.