10 Things We Learned About Ramen

Indie rock band POP ETC's frontman, Chris Chu, came back from his last Tokyo full of tales and noodles. We asked him to report back on his ramen adventures around the city, and proudly published his findings. We feel like real ramen experts now. Here are 10 things we learned:

  1. Ramen places typically only seat a handful of people, so ramen enthusiasts are typically speedy eaters. When you're done, lingering is poor form. Get up and let someone else slurp down.
  2. We need tsukemen in America — it's a type of ramen that's dipped in sauce (soba-style). The sauce is then diluted with dashi to make a broth you can drink when the noodles are finished.
  3. The thickness of your ramen noodle depends entirely on the sauce or broth it's served with.
  4. Some ramen restaurants have a vending machine inside. Ramen doesn't come out though, you just place your order and hand the ticket to the cooks.
  5. The broth is entirely up to the imagination and specific tastes of the chef. It can be pork (tonkotsu-style), chicken or beef-based and spiked with citrus or different kinds of soy sauce.
  6. Don't be surprised if your ramen joint is playing American pop music.
  7. The brick wrapped in cellophane is not ramen.
  8. The ShinYokohama Ramen museum currently recognizes 26 types of ramen.
  9. The good places have lines. Big ones. But don't worry, ramen eaters in the know slurp quickly and move on.
  10. Most ramen joints are full of Japanese businessmen in suits. Conversely, most ramen joints in New York are full of hipsters.

Read The Ramen Diaries on Food Republic: