THIS RECIPE IS PART OF MY EAST SERIES.
In this series, I’ll be covering dishes from Japan, Taiwan, China and Korea to cover East Asia, followed by dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to cover Southeast Asia.
This series will extend over the next few months, but I’m really excited about it — and I hope you are too!
In the first installment of this series, I gave you some serious ramen envy with my Spicy Shoyu Ramen. The response on that post across social media was fab, and I may have enticed a ramen fanatic or two to give it a whirl at home themselves. After all, that’s part of why I’m rolling this series out; to encourage people to learn about other culture’s cuisines by hitting the markets and making things from scratch.
So, why another ramen bowl?
The reason I decided to include two ramen bowls in this series is to show you (shoyu?) that ramen isn’t just one soup in particular; it comes in various styles — shoyu, miso, tonkotsu and shio.
In general, ramen comprises four key elements: the broth, the noodles, the tare (base) and, of course, those crowd-pleasing adornments. However, it’s the tare that sets a ramen’s tone.
The tare is the bold umami-packed essence that pulls the broth together. The most common tare is shoyu, which packs a solid punch with soy sauce and dashi. If you did happen to make my Spicy Shoyu Ramen, then you know the lovely punch I’m talking about.
Shoyu and miso ramen might look similar at a quick glance, but the color and flavor are very different. Miso is a fermented bean paste and creates an opaque and cloudy broth; a shoyu-based broth is dark and clear. Furthermore, a miso broth has a smooth finish while a shoyu broth is sharper on the palate. What they *do* have in common is that they both give us that umami we covet, just in their own distinct ways.
I honestly can’t say I love one more than the other.