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Food For Thought Ramen
(Entered Jan. 23, 2005)
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Ramen. The Japanese love it like nothing else. What is it? Well first of all, ramen comes in four mouth-dehydrating flavours: soy sauce (shoyu), salt (shio), fermented bean curd (miso) and pork fat (tonkotsu). Feeling hungry yet? Keep reading. After you've decided what flavour of broth you want, the rest of it is pretty much the same. Ramen wouldn't be ramen without the noodles. In fact not only do Japanese people love ramen, they're crazy about noodles too. Ramen noodles are different from spaghetti, they're firmer, chewier, and something else that I just can't put my finger on. After the noodles, ramen just has to have a slice or two of roast pork, and some green onion. But don't stop there. As you can see from the picture, some restaurants might stick in an egg, some seaweed, sliced bamboo, bean sprouts, corn, garlic and maybe some other unidentifiable things.


When it's time to eat, it is considered polite to slurp your noodles noisily. However spraying soup on your tie as you suck up the noodles is considered a faux pas. I still haven't mastered the art of slurping yet. Does ramen count as fast food? Every time I eat it, I always end up swearing to myself that I'll never eat it again, and then wondering if it's healthier than McDonald's. Ramen surely contains more fat, oil, starch and probably more salt than a Big Mac combo. But then again, who knows what else goes into those burger patties? Definitely not meat.


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