The beauty of Japanese cuisine is in its wide variety of ingredients and cooking methods. The various ways of preparing the many different categories of ingredients combine to create healthy, nutritionally well-balanced meals. Here is an introduction to some of the principal categories of Japanese cuisine. Once the characteristics of each category are understood, Japanese cooking can be more fun and healthier.
National "soul food" in Japan derived from Chinese cuisine
Ramen is a Chinese-style noodle dish developed in Japan and is one of Japan's typical dishes. It is also called chuka-soba (Chinese noodles).
The crucial point of making delicious ramen is the preparation of the noodles (chuka-men) and the soup. The noodles are made with wheat flour, eggs, salt, water and kan-sui or alkaline salt water. The ingredients are mixed, kneaded and cut into noodles. Boiled noodles are served in a soup with toppings. The most common toppings are roast pork, menma (simmered bamboo shoots), negi leek and seasoned boiled eggs.
There are a variety of ramen making methods depending on the restaurant and the region. Soy sauce-based, miso or salt-based soups are typical; typical dashi broth is made with pork bone, seafood, bonito or kombu kelp.