20 Best Types of Ramen

Lastest Updated April 21, 2024
Home » Dishes A-Z » 20 Best Types of Ramen

The different types of ramen I am going to introduce today are all the signature dishes of Japanese cuisine. They strongly reflect the culinary tradition of the country. In addition, each type has a lot of regional variations.

This article will give you the most outstanding features of these ramen noodles, including the ingredients, flavors, and how to serve them. A lot of interesting information is waiting for you ahead. Is there any reason to ignore it? I guess not!

Ramen Noodles
Ramen noodles are a crucial staple of Japanese cuisine.

7 Main Types Of Ramen That You Should Know First

In Japan, ramen noodles are classified into 7 main types, depending on the ingredients that are cooked with them. This section will provide you with the essential information about these 7 versions. This table outlines their basic features.

Types of ramenFlavorBrothTopping
Shoyu ramenLight, tangy, and savoryVegetables, soy sauce, chicken, fish, or beef stockKamaboko (fish cakes), boiled eggs, chāshū, and menma (marinated bamboo shoots)
Miso ramenUmami, nutty, tangy, and a little bit sweet.Chicken, miso, and porkVegetables, menma, and seaweed
Shio ramenSalty, lightChicken, salt, fish, vegetable, or pork stockSeaweed, chashu, narutomaki (fish cakes), kamaboko, pickled plums, and lean chicken meatballs.
Tonkotsu ramenLightPork bone, garlic, ginger, pork back fat, and chicken carcasses.Eggs, chāshū, corns, and green onions
Tsukemen ramenStrongDashiBoiled eggs, nori, menma, and chashu.
Kare RamenCurryPork bones, curry, and vegetablesChashu, bean sprouts, and wakame.
Instant RamenVaryVaryVary

1. Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu Ramen
Shoyu ramen has the distinctive salty taste of soy sauce.

In Japan, “shoyu” means soy sauce. This ramen is called “shoyu” because it contains a lot of soy sauce. The broth often consists of vegetables, chicken, fish, or beef stock. Some cooks love to add Chinese spices or chili oil.

The toppings include kamaboko (fish cakes), boiled eggs, chāshū, and menma (marinated bamboo shoots). Some people serve it with sliced beef instead of chāshū.

Although Shoyu ramen has a lot of soy sauce, it is not too salty. It tastes rather light with some tangy and savory notes.

As for the noodles, the cooks often use curly noodle strands to make shoyu. Sometimes, they also use straight noodles.

A lot of people are crazy about Shoyu ramen. You will also be after you try it.

Watch this video: Cheap, Quick and Easy Shoyu Ramen Recipe

2. Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen
Miso ramen has a rich and flavorful taste.

Miso ramen comes from Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, and is popular all around the country. It is named after its main ingredient, which is miso (fermented soybean paste). It thickens the broth and adds a unique flavor to the noodle soup.

The broth is also made of pork and chicken, lard, tonkotsu, or fish stock. The soup comes out nutty, tangy, and a little bit sweet.

Miso paste normally consists of miso, rice, or soybeans. It comes in different colors, namely white or red. What is distinctive about miso ramen is that it has a thick and creamy texture and an umami flavor. People often use thick, chewy, and curly noodles to make Miso ramen.

The toppings for miso ramen are mostly vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, bean sprouts, and bok choy. In addition, it also has menma, seaweed, tobanjan (chili bean paste), and ground pork.

3. Shio Ramen

Shio Ramen
Shio ramen stands out by its light and salty flavor.

Shio ramen has a very salty flavor since it contains a lot of salt. Notably, it is the oldest ramen variety in Japan. People use straight noodles to make it. But the degree of thickness varies a lot.

The broth is usually made from chicken, fish, vegetable, or pork stock. You can spot shio ramen based on its distinctive light yellow color. Compared to other types of ramen, Shio ramen has a lighter taste since the meat or fish is not boiled for a long time.

The topping of this ramen often includes seaweed. It has a low fat and oil content yet a high amount of sodium. Some other choices are chashu, narutomaki (fish cakes), kamaboko, pickled plums, and lean chicken meatballs.

After trying this Shio ramen recipe, you will be addicted to it.

Watch this video: How To Make A Super Simple Shio (Salt) Ramen

4. Tonkotsu Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu ramen noodles are available in various degrees of firmness.

Tonkotsu ramen came from Fukuoka Prefecture on the Kyushu island of Japan. Local people also call it “Hakata ramen.” Although this variety of Japanese noodles is a delicacy in Fukuoka, it has gained popularity in other parts of Japan and also the world.

In the past, Tonkotsu ramen was served to those who worked in the fish market. It is cheap and is considered fast food only. But now it has become so popular.

What makes Tonkotsu ramen special is its broth. People make it by boiling pork bones for a very long time until the broth gets cloudy. Then they add other ingredients, namely garlic, ginger, pork back fat, and chicken carcasses.

Common toppings for Tonkotsu ramen are eggs, chāshū, corn, and green onions. To make the noodle look more attractive, consider using a beautiful and high-quality ramen bowl.

The noodle strands used to make Tonkotsu ramen are also very unique. The center of the strands is often hard. Semi-hard strands are called “futsu,” hard strands are “barigane,” soft strands are “yawamen,” and “barikata” refers to firm strands.

5. Tsukemen Ramen

Tsukemen Ramen
Try Tsukemen ramen if you want a new experience with ramen.

Tsukemen ramen is served differently from other types of ramen. People place the soup and the noodles in 2 separate bowls. Then they dip the noodles into the soup and enjoy it. People often use soba or udon noodles to cook this ramen.

The soup of Tsukemen ramen tastes much stronger than that of common ramen. Adding hot water will make it lighter. It consists of dashi and some other flavors. People also serve it with boiled eggs, nori, menma, and chashu.

I would like to talk a little bit about the history of Tsukemen Ramen. It originated in 1961 in Tokyo. It was a restaurant owner named Kazuo Yamagishi who invented it. Over time, it has become increasingly popular.

Tsukemen ramen is a very popular Japanese dish that is available all around the country. In America, you can find it in Los Angeles.

This Tsukemen ramen recipe will make you feel over the moon.

Watch this video: How to make Tsukemen

6. Kare Ramen

Kare Ramen
Kare ramen is new yet very delicious.

Kare ramen is a new and special type of ramen that has the flavor of curry. Its origin is still a mystery. Some people believe that it came from Muroran in 1965. Citizens of Sanjō also say that it originated in this city over 80 years ago. Some theorize that it came from Katori.

The broth for Kare ramen consists of pork bones and vegetables. People add curry to create a tasty signature flavor. The types of noodles used are curly and thick noodles. As for the toppings, you can have chashu, bean sprouts, and wakame.

7. Instant Ramen

Instant Ramen
Instant ramen is loved by the whole world.

In Japan, people also call instant ramen “cup ramen.” It comes in a variety of types and flavors. But the common thing between them is the noodles. Instant ramen most often uses thin and curly noodles. To enjoy the best taste, add an egg to it.

Nowadays, instant ramen is not only popular in Japan, but also in other parts of the world. The largest brand, Nissin Foods, popularized it to the world in 1971.

Instant ramen is delicious and takes a short time to prepare. Many people love it so much that they even wonder if ramen is edible raw. Yet it is not a healthy option. It contains fat and sodium, which can cause several health conditions such as strokes and heart diseases.

Nowadays, instant ramen is also available in the canned version. It contains soup, noodles, pork, and menma. You can find it in Akihabara. It has a lot of flavors. The most common ones are tonkotsu and curry.

13 Regional Varieties Of Ramen To Broaden Your Horizon

Besides these 7 main types of ramen, there are a lot of other regional varieties that you will find in famous Japanese cities. In this section, let me introduce you to the 10 most delicious regional varieties.

1. Hakata Ramen

Hakata Ramen
The bold flavor of Hakata ramen will win your heart.

Hakata ramen is a variety of Tonkotsu ramen. It came from Fukuoka, a region in Southern Japan. It uses thin, straight, and resilient noodle strands.

Unlike other types of ramen, Hakata ramen does not have a lot of toppings because its broth is full of flavors. However, there are various toppings available on the table for you to choose from, such as sesame seeds, crushed garlic, and spicy pickled mustard greens.

Traditionally, Japanese people sold Hakata ramen for fishermen. Nowadays, it has gained popularity all over the world.

2. Kagoshima Ramen

Kagoshima Ramen
Kagoshima ramen has a light flavor, quite different from other varieties.

Kagoshima ramen originated from Kyushu. The broth consists of dried sardines, dried mushroom, kelp, chicken stock, and vegetables. This ramen has a very light taste. People often serve it with thick noodles and pickled daikon.

The topping for Kagoshima ramen is mainly chashu. Kagoshima is famous for kurobuta pork, so the chashu in this ramen is incredibly tender and delicious.

3. Kurume Ramen

Kurume Ramen
Photo Credit: Kurume Ramen by Fabian Reus is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Kurume ramen has a lovely rich flavor.

The broth of Kurume ramen is made of pig’s head and trotters. It is rich and incredibly flavorful. This ramen shares some similarities with Tonkotsu ramen in that it also has a broth made from pork bones. People often top Kurume ramen with seaweed and fried pig lard. 

4. Abura Soba

Abura Soba
Abura Soba will give you a remarkable culinary experience.

Although the name indicates that it is a Soba dish, the noodles used are ramen noodles. Abura Soba is different from other types of noodles in that it does not have broth. Instead, people serve it with a tare sauce.

Abura Soba can go with a variety of toppings such as scallions, nori, egg yolks, seasoned ground pork, and chashu. You will see different toppings depending on the region.

5. Okinawa Soba

Okinawa Soba
Okinawa Soba is one of the most famous varieties of ramen.

Although this is a Soba dish, its broth bears some similarities with ramen broth. It contains thick-sliced boneless pork rib, kombu, and katsuobushi flakes. Common toppings include pickled ginger, scallion, and fish cakes. This dish is a delicacy of Okinawa island.

6. Sapporo Ramen

Sapporo Ramen
Sapporo ramen is a type of Miso ramen.

Sapporo ramen is a specialty of Sapporo, which is the capital city of Hokkaido. It is a variety of Miso ramen. Local people love to enjoy it during the cold season. The broth is made of tonkotsu pork bones, and the noodles used are curly noodles.

A wide range of toppings is available for Sapporo ramen. People top it with bean sprouts, garlic, chopped pork, and butter. Sometimes they also add seafood, such as crab, squid, or scallop.

7. Hakodate Ramen

Hakodate Ramen
Hakodate ramen uses straight ramen noodles.

Originating from Hokkaido, Hakodate ramen has a deliciously light flavor. The salty broth is made of chicken. The noodle strands are straight. The degree of thickness varies, which can be thin or medium.

People often top Hakodate ramen with menma, leeks, spinach, corn, chashu, scallions, and fish cakes.

8. Asahikawa Ramen

Asahikawa Ramen
Asahikawa ramen is best enjoyed on cold winter days.

This type of ramen comes from Asahikawa, a city in Hokkaido. The delicious dish consists of fish, pork, and chicken. It is also salty, thanks to the amount of soy sauce. However, there is always a layer of fat on top, but the overall flavor is still amazing.

The noodle type used for this ramen is wavy noodles.

9. Tokyo-Style Ramen

Tokyo Style Ramen
Try Tokyo ramen to diversify your culinary experience!

Tokyo-style ramen is one of the oldest varieties. People make the broth using pork or chicken bones, soy sauce, and dashi resulting in the classic dark broth. They serve the broth with slightly thin and curly ramen noodles.

As for the toppings, common choices include seaweed, spinach, fish cakes, bamboo shoots, chashu, soft-boiled eggs, and of course, scallions.

10. Kitakata Ramen

Kirakata Ramen
If you come to Fukushima, don’t forget to try Kitakata ramen.

Kitakata ramen got its name from its city of origin, which is Kitakata. It is located in Fukushima. The broth mainly consists of soy sauce, niboshi (sardines), chicken, ve, or tonkotsu. People top it with chashu, bamboo shoots, green onions, and fish cakes.

The cooks use hirauchi jukusei takasuimen noodles for this ramen. They have a thick and wavy shape and firm texture.

11. Wakayama Ramen

Wakayama Ramens
Photo Credit: Wakayamaramen by Hykw-a4 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Wakayama ramen is a cross between Tonkotsu and Shoyu ramen.

If you love the flavor of Tonkotsu and Shoyu ramen, Wakayama ramen is what you should try next. Local people also call it “chuka soba”, which means “Chinese soba”. It combines the essence of pork bone broth and soy sauce, resulting in a mouth-watering dark brown soup.

You have plenty of options when it comes to toppings. You can top it with chashu, menma, green onions, raw eggs, and fish cakes.

12. Tsukemen

Tsukemen Ramen Noodles
Tsukemen is an amazingly delicious type of ramen noodles.

Tsukemen originated in Tokyo. Unlike other types of ramen, people serve Tsukemen by putting the soup and noodles into 2 different bowls. They boil the noodles and soak them in cold water to retain the firm texture.

The accompanying soup is very flavorful. You can enjoy it warm or cold. If it is too bold, you can add some dashi to neutralize the flavor.

13. Yokohama Ramen

Yokohama Ramen
You can customize Yokohama ramen depending on your taste buds.

The broth of Yokohama ramen is very similar to Tonkotsu ramen. People often call it “Tonkotsu-Shoyu”. It uses thick and straight noodles. You can choose to enjoy soft or firm noodles, rich or light soup, and even adjust the amount of oil that goes into your ramen.

Yokohama ramen is served with boiled spinach, roasted pork, nori, soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs, and negi (shredded Welsh onions).  

7 Typical Ramen Toppings You Must Try

Ramen noodles have a variety of toppings. Some may be familiar to you, while others may not. In this section, I will present an overview of each type of toppings. Read on!

Soft-Boiled Eggs: This is the most common topping. People often submerge them in soy sauce and then slice them in half for serving.

Bean Sprouts: They add a crunchy texture to the ramen. You should stir-fry or blanch them before serving. They are also a very popular topping in Vietnamese noodle dishes.

Green Onions: Also called scallions, this topping is used for additional color, texture, and aroma. People chop them and sprinkle them on the ramen.

Shiitake Mushrooms: People top ramen with Shiitake mushrooms or add their dried form into the broth to make the ramen more savory.

Sesame Seeds: These seeds aim to add a nutty taste and crunchy texture. You can also use sesame oil instead.

Bok Choy: This is the most popular vegetable topping for ramen. It is best to quarter it before serving.

Menma: Its English name is “fermented bamboo shoots”. It provides the ramen with a sweet and nutty taste.

Kamaboko: Fish cakes are the iconic topping of ramen. They come in white and pink slices.

Nori: This topping is dried seaweed. It comes in dark green and crunchy sheets.

Beni Shoga: This is a type of pickled ginger with a bright red color. It is commonly served with tonkotsu broth.   

An Overview Of Ramen Noodles

Noodles are a very important element in a bowl of ramen noodles. The chewy texture and light flavor go well with the flavorful broth. In this section, let’s learn about the types of ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles vary in shape, texture, size, and degree of thickness. But most of them have a distinctive yellow color and elastic texture. This is because they are made from the same ingredients, namely water, salt, wheat flour, and kansui.

Kansui is the element that provides the noodle strands with a beautiful yellow color. It is a kind of alkaline water made from sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate.

Some cooks replace kansui with eggs, resulting in the common egg noodles. This noodle is now one of the most popular types of noodles used to make ramen.

In the past, people made ramen noodles by hand. People make the dough, stretch it, and fold it for a long time in order to create a thin, long, and even shape. But nowadays, they are commercially produced using machines

While making ramen, you should boil the noodles in advance and add them to the soup. Boiling it directly in the broth will alter the flavor.

The section below will dig into specific types of ramen noodles according to their shapes and dehydration level.

Try the traditional method of making ramen, and it will be a great experience.

Watch this video: Beginner Guide to Making Ramen Noodles

6 Types Of Ramen Noodles According To Shape

Ramen noodles come in various shapes. Some of them may not be familiar to you. In this section, let me show you all the different ramen noodles types classified according to their appearance. 

Round Ramen Noodle

Round noodles are probably the most common type of ramen noodle. You should always store some in your kitchen.

Noone Familiar Ramen
No one is not familiar with round ramen noodles.

Flat Ramen Noodle

Using a wide-groove cutter results in flat ramen noodles that resemble the look of pasta and kishimen-style Udon noodles.

Flat Ramen Noodle
If you have never tasted flat ramen noodles, give it a try!

Reverse-Flat Ramen Noodle

With a rectangular shape, reserved-flat ramen noodles can easily bring along the flavor of soup when you pick them up with chopsticks.

Straight Ramen Noodle

Straight is the most common shape of ramen. Probably it is used for most noodle dishes except for instant noodles.

Straight Ramen
Straight ramen noodles look neat and elegant.

Square Ramen Noodle

Square ramen can be created easily by using the cutter grooves that have the same width as the ramen dough.

Curved Ramen Noodle

Used in instant ramen and some other ramen types, curved ramen is created by a special attachment that can turn the straight strands into wavy ones.

Curved Ramen Noodle
Curved ramen noodle is the most common noodle type used to make instant ramen. 

Classify Ramen Noodle By Level Of Dehydration

Besides flour, water is also a very important ingredient in ramen noodles. It decides the degree of thickness as well as other features. There are 3 main types of ramen noodles

Low Water Content

When noodles are made with a low amount of water, they tend to be very thin. They are also tough and hard. Ramen noodles classified into this group often have a water content of about 30% of the flour weight.

Medium Water Content

A ramen noodle is considered to have a medium water content if the proportion of water lies between 31% and 39%. This type is moister and softer.

High Water Content

If the amount of water in a ramen noodle is above 40%, it has high water content. As a result, the noodle strands are super moist and tender, just like udon noodles.

Ramen Noodles Will Make Your Day

Ramen noodles have been the traditional dish of Japan for so many years. When mentioning Japanese cuisine, ramen noodles are always the first thing that pops up in people’s minds. It will be a shame if you don’t give them a try.

If you want to challenge your cooking skill, then making them at home is a great idea. With the recipes I have shared with you, nothing is impossible. Before you start making ramen noodles, don’t forget to give this article a share.

Types Of Ramen
Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Editor in Chief, Senior Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Western Food Evaluation Expert


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Gained foundational knowledge in French and European culinary techniques. Participated in workshops and hands-on training sessions under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Local Community College, New York, NY

  • Program: Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
  • Focus: Acquired basic understanding of nutrition principles, dietary needs, and the importance of balanced diets in daily life.

Jamie Scott is a skilled culinary expert and content creator specializing in Western cuisine. With over 15 years in the culinary field and formal training from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, Jamie deeply understands how to blend nutrition with delicious flavors. His passion for cooking matches his commitment to making healthy eating accessible and enjoyable.

On Fifteen.net, Jamie brings a fresh perspective to classic dishes and beverages, offering readers insightful recipes, cooking tips, and a fresh view on meal planning that emphasizes taste, health, and simplicity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *