The Chinese “La Mian” noodle dish came to Japan via Nagasaki in the Edo period, but Japanese really began to take notice of it once Japan’s sea ports were opened to the wider world. In the Chinatowns of Kobe, Hakodate, Yokohama and Nagasaki localised Chinese would partake in the noodle dish – thick curly noodles hand-pulled from dough into thin strands, served in a thin clear soup. Known as “Shina Soba”, the predecessor to today’s Ramen began being served in the now legendary “Rai Rai Ken” of Asakusa, Tokyo in 1910.
The chef is said to have drifted over from Yokohama’s Chinatown and brought with him the technique of hand-pulling noodle dough. The original Ramen was served with a thin, clear Soy (Shoyu) flavour and curly whole egg noodles (chijiremen). Nowadays this quintessential Tokyo ramen style and flavour has grown more complex with the addition of bonito fish flake stock to the basic chicken soup.
Like all parts of the Ramen dish, the noodles are deceptively simple. You just need flour, salt, water and eggs. Yet to make just the right consistency one must consider temperature, humidity, length of time in the bowl, the soup consistency and how it suits the noodles, lots and lots of things. You can come and see our staff making noodles daily (either lunch or dinner time depending on the day) and watch the process first-hand. We have a special noodle making & mixing machine imported directly from Japan to aid in the process.
As per Japanese tradition, the basic thinner, clear souped ramen is paired with thicker, curly, resilient full egg noodles known as “Chijiremen”. The thicker Tonkotsu type Ramen, born in Fukuoka and now wildly popular across Japan is better suited to the thinner, chewy egg-white noodles “Hosomen”. We have painstakingly considered the chewiness, softness, flavour and texture of each soup, noodle and flavour when pairing each soup and noodle. All for your enjoyment~
Ramen soup is made from a range of ingredients that vary depending on the region of Japan and the flavour the shop is aiming for. The basic is chicken or pork bone broth, with standard additions of seafood, seaweed and vegetables. It is slow-cooked, strained and usually clear. As the main feature of any Ramen dish is the noodles, the soup is thought by some to be too salty to be consumed on its own – best sipped as a break from enjoying the noodles or as a tasty coating.
At Kokoro Ramen we prepare a rich, slow-cooked chicken & vegetable broth, balanced with seafood stock on serving for a rich, balanced flavour that is dinstinctly Japanese. This Ramen is best suited to the thicker, curly ”Chijiremen” style noodle.
On Tonkotsu Soup
The Pork Bone broth Tonkotsu is a distinct style of Ramen soup harking from the heart of old Fukuoka City, the area still known to locals as “Hakata” (look out for Hakata style Ramen across eateries in Japan!). Using pork bones that are cooked on high heat for over 8 hours to tease out all the oily, savoury richness, combined with vegetables for just the right flavour balance this soup is white and silky, thick and sticky, rich and distinctly savoury.
Our Tonkotsu broth is tempered with vegetables to add just the right amount of flavour and sweetness.
As we painstakingly prepare both types of broth at Kokoro Ramen every day, we provide a range of flavours to showcase the full range of Japanese Ramen tastes.
Once each broth is prepared, it is mixed with a combination of sauces, spices and flavoured oils to create one of a series of flavours. Like everything else at Kokoro Ramen, our flavour mixes are prepared from scratch with in-store ingredients. Our flavour-infused oils are all created on premises – the wide combination of Shrimp, spring onion, garlic, tantan rayu – cooked painstakingly by our staff.
A popular recent addition to Ramen, our store also prepares our own Mayu – pork back lard oil infused with garlic, slow-roasted over 8 hours. Delicious!
Here is a run-down of the basic flavours of Ramen:
Salt flavoured Ramen adds a gentle salty flavour adds a strong tang while letting the broth speak for itself. We serve two Shio varieties:
- Chicken & Seafood stock, a slight pork flavouring & Chijiremen noodles make Hakodate style Shio
- Tonkotsu Pork Stock & straight Hosomen noodles make a Nagahama style Tonkotsu Shio.
Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
Soy sauce ramen is surprisingly not that tangy, nor does it taste exactly like soy sauce – the deeper, sweeter grassy reaches of the soy flavour come out and bring a mild sweetness to the basic broth. We serve two Shoyu varieties:
- Chicken & Seafood stock and curly Chijiremen make the classic Ramen dish, Tokyo Shoyu.
- Tonnkotsu Pork Stock & straight Hosomen make a Tonkotsu favoured in Hakata, Tonkotsu Shoyu.
Originally from Hokkaido, a popular local style is the addition of butter & corn for a dish that warms the body and soul. We make a Ramen-specific miso paste blended from two types of Miso, vegetables, spices and sauces and slow-cooked to perfect a deep and complex sweet, savoury flavour.
- The Sapporo style of Miso combines equal parts Tonkotsu Pork and Chicken & Seafood broth with thick Chijiremen noodles.
This is our extra special dish, as our manager & chef comes from Sapporo himself and is quite particular about it. Why not give it a try?