The Ramen is a dish of noddles, which is part of the culinary culture of Japan. This Japanese delicacy was born from the combination of the Chinese mass made with wheat flour, salt and kansui (alkaline water rich in potassium carbonate, carbonate sodium, and phosphoric acid), the traditional broth and the Japanese soy sauce. From there different varieties of Ramen began to appear all over Japan, such as Ramen de miso, salt or tonkotsu (pork bones). At present, this dish is one of the most well known Japanese “Comfort foods” in the world.
To Ramen, consisting of Chinese pasta and broth, various ingredients are added, which may vary depending on the region of Japan, such as chicken (most common in Tokyo), chashu – pork (most common in Kyushu), algae greens, bamboo shoots, chives and naruto – fish paste.
The use of wheat flour and kansui water gives this dough unique characteristics which makes it distinctive and gives it a different taste and texture compared to other pasta made from wheat flour.
The broth is one of the determining factors in Ramen’s flavor, being cooked with the most diverse ingredients and on a low heat for a long time, so that it bakes slowly and well tastes the flavors. The most commonly used animal foods in the confection of Ramens are chicken bones, pork, kezuribushi (dried bonito flakes), niboshi (dried sardines), kombu (kelp), among others.
This dish has been evolving over time, so there have been several variations of this type of food. Western ingredients and techniques have been used in recent years, increasingly breaking the frontiers between Japan and the rest of the world. At the same time, a more traditional “Ramen nostalgia” has emerged. In addition to having tried to “go back to their origins” through traditional flavors, Ramen’s restaurants have increasingly focused on the quality of the ingredients, and this is a key factor for Ramens AFURI.
Types of Ramen
A key point of the Ramen broths is that they can be divided into two main categories: Paitan and Chintan. Paitan, also known as “white soup”, is a thick and cloudy broth, while Chintan, known as “light soup” is shocaced layer of ingredients.
The broths made with tonkotsu (pork bones), for example, are almost always Paitans, being thicker and creamier. These broths have enough fat, extracted from the bone marrow and cartilages of the pig, that also confers enough flavor and texture to the soup.
However, Paitans can also be made from chicken. In recent years, the popularity of this type of Ramen has been growing in Japan. The bones and cartilages of the chicken are a fundamental element to give body and taste to this type of broth.
The main difference between the Ramens Paitans and Chintans lies in their preparation. A Paitan broth is prepared at higher temperatures and more robust boils, while a Chintan broth is cooked by heating at lower and sub-boiled temperatures. High temperatures allow liquids, usually immiscible, to combine to form a rich, thick emulsion. On the other hand, cooking at low temperatures allows the fats to separate from the aqueous broth; the fat can be removed and later used to flavor the confection of other dishes.
In short, pork, because of its properties, creates a thick and rich broth, and is usually used to make Paitans. Chicken, which contains more glutamate (salt present in all animal and plant proteins) than pork, is good for confecting Chintans. Often also the two types of meats, pork and chicken are mixed, to give more flavor and balance to Ramen.
Ramen Chitan is healthier than Ramen Paitan because it allows you to separate the fat from the broth, allowing it to consume only the healthiest ingredients and properties of each broth.
AFURI ramen is different from ramen you’ve had elsewhere.It’s lighter, refreshing—even a little delicate. We’re particular about all our ingredients—but there’s one ingredient in particular that makes AFURI ramen special. We make our signature ramen with yuzu, a small yellow citrus fruit native to Asia. We splash it in our fresh chicken broth and we garnish it on top, too. It adds a touch of freshness to our ramen and pairs perfectly with our broth and charcoal-grilled pork. We think of it as a thoughtful, refreshing update on everything that makes ramen so great.