What are the best bowls for Japanese Ramen?

What are the best bowls for Japanese Ramen?

Dec 19, 2022 Tags 

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, noodles are a staple part of it. Most anime characters like Naruto have expressed their love for ramen several times throughout the series. It is by far the most famous Japanese cuisine known worldwide. It can be a go-to food for comfort, convenience, a casual outing with friends and drinking buddies, warding off cold; perfect food when you’re too lazy to cook and great for nursing a broken heart.

Check! There are varieties of Japanese noodles to choose from: ramen, soba, udon, somen, harusame and many more. 

When eating Japanese noodles, one thing people usually overlook is that the noodle bowl you use is significant. This article will cover just how and why your ramen bowl should be chosen wisely. Let’s dive in.


The importance of choosing the best bowl for your ramen


As stated earlier, the type of bowl you use is among the determining factors of how best you enjoy your noodles. Imagine using a bowl too big or deep for the meager soup and toppings. You have to keep peering inside to grab noodles with your chopsticks. 

Using a shallow bowl would cause your soup to spill all over, and the toppings will be piled and packed too tight. Toppings are meant to be spread wide invitingly, not piled undesirably.  

What if the bowl is slanted too high? Or does the bowl’s rim just not suit the size or shape of your mouth? We could go on and on about how essential bowls are to enjoying a nice meal of Japanese noodles. 

Factors like the height, shape, material, and curve of a bowl are vital in choosing a bowl. An excellent Japanese bowl is essential, which is why many types of bowls are used in restaurants for customers' satisfaction. 


What are the different types of ramen bowl shapes?


Ramen is the most widely known Japanese noodle dish out there. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t multipurpose bowls for other noodles. Below are the most commonly used shapes of ramen bowls:




Tayoudon Noodle Bowl


This literally translates to a “multipurpose” bowl. It has a deep curve, it is not too deep, and it is easy to hold. Tayoudon is a popular bowl used in new ramen diners that opened after the year 2000. They are used for other noodles like soba and udon and are also great for use in rice dishes like oyakodun or katsudon. They are usually found in classy, expensive, and inventive restaurants. 





Menbachi Noodle Bowl


Menbachi literally means “noodle bowl”. Of course, that makes it a very popular bowl that most people use. The curve is steeper towards the base and its large and wide opening makes it the best bowl to use for the noodles, which comes with a lot of toppings and plenty of soup. The shape of this bowl is bigger and larger than your average bowl size.




Ohgigatadon Noodle Bowl


If class and beauty was a bowl, this would be it. This type of bowl has a conical shape. It literally translates to “fan-shaped bowl”. It leans towards modern and classy, unlike the typical traditional noodle bowls and is known for its straight and steep side exterior. Due to its shape, it doesn’t hold a lot of noodles, and it’s usually found in high-end restaurants that offer the class and quality of the noodles over quantity. It is convenient to use in a commercial kitchen as they are stackable, light, and don't take up much space. 




Tamadon Noodle Bowl


This round bowl is known for its thick and round mouth. This bowl makes space for ramen with plenty of toppings. The key feature is the thick rim of the bowl which prevents the edge from being chipped off.  




Koudaidon Noodle Bowl


This bowl means “high-footed bowl”. It is a fashionable noodle bowl with an elevated bottom. It is user-friendly because the raised bottom prevents users from getting burned while holding the bowl. The lip of the bowl is slightly curved backward, which allows the diner to see the broth, noodles, and toppings easily. 




Marukoudaidon Noodle Bowl


As the name suggests, it is a different version of the kouidaidon noodle bowl, but it has an additional lip. The rim is thicker and wider, so it is easy to carry. Just like the koudaidon, it prevents the hands and fingers from being burnt. The bowl is usually used for ramen and fried rice. 


What are the different materials used for Japanese ramen bowls?


There are various materials used in creating beautiful ramen bowls. 

  • Ceramic Ramen Bowls: these are the most popular bowls. Ceramic bowls are beautiful, with pretty different designs. They are hand-made, microwave and dishwasher-safe. They are to be handled carefully because they chip off and break easily. However, it is long-lasting if you treat it with care. 
  • Wooden Bowls: wooden bowls are beautiful, classy, and more expensive than most bowls. They are usually found in classy restaurants, and due to their zero thermal conductivity, the food stays warm longer. They are usually hand-crafted, creating a unique look for each wooden bowl. 
  • Melamine Bowls: these are attractive and economical. They can pass for a ceramic bowl from afar, but when you hold them, you’ll notice that they are lighter. Unlike ceramic bowls, the heat is not transferred to the bowl’s exterior, which makes it easy to handle. They are durable but don’t microwave food with this bowl often.
  • Stainless Steel Bowls: these are highly durable and can’t break. They don't even dent easily when dropped. They are dishwasher-safe and easy to clean, but they are not microwave friendly because the exterior can heat up too fast. It is best fitted for a person who would love to feel heat seep into their palms as they gulp down the broth. It should only be mildly hot, though. 

Yes, bowls are a big deal for maximum Japanese noodle enjoyment. Ensure you choose the bowl well suited for you for a great Japanese noodle experience! 


What bowl should you use for your Ramen?


Now, we've been over a few types of bowls already, and discussed their shapes and material. It's time to look at what bowl you should use depending on the type of noodle you want to eat!


  • Soy Sauce Ramen: Ranging from orthodox to modern types.

For clear, amber-colored soup, we recommend a bowl with a white interior. There are orthodox types with a lightning pattern and vermilion outside, and modern types with a simple design of vermilion on a white background.


  • Shio Ramen: A bowl with a white background and an indigo pattern highlights the delicate colors.

For light salt ramen, bowls with indigo patterns on a white background are perfect, as they show off the transparency and delicate colors. Geometric or ethnic patterns are stylish.


  • Miso Ramen: The dark colors match. The use of a single vermilion color also makes a big impact.

The rich miso ramen goes well with both white and dark-colored bowls. We recommend using warm ceramics. Using a strong color, such as a single shade of vermilion, makes a big impact.


  • Tonkotsu Ramen: A modern and playful design is recommended for the black-glazed bowl.

A black-ground rice bowl is a good match for thick white soup. Among them, we recommend bowls with a modern and playful design, such as a modern arrangement of a traditional pattern.


  • Banzan-men: Vivid design reminiscent of stimulating flavors is Vivid design evokes stimulating flavors.


For tantanmen or spicy ramen noodles, we need a vivid image. We also recommend a bowl with a strong pattern like lightning or a punchy bowl with bright insert colors.

If you're looking to learn more about the types of Japanese noodles, checkout our dedicated guide here!



If you want a taste of instant ramen from Japan, you are in luck. Our ZenPop Ramen pack offers the latest ramen from Japan. Click here to see our offers!


This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem, and edited by us.


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