How to make great bowls of vegan ramen

Vegan ramen sounds difficult to exist because most of the main ingredients traditionally used for ramen are not allowed in vegan cuisines. The most popular type of ramen is tonkotsu, which uses a big amount of pork bones. Other major types of ramen use chicken, beef, various types of meats for umami needed to make the unique tastes and flavors of ramen soups. Ramen as we know it seems impossible to make without using any of the animal-based ingredients.
We expect a bowl of ramen to have strong tastes, umami, and flavors. The complex tastes and flavors created with a  variety of pork and seafood base stocks, various types of motodare, and flavored oils, using a variety of ingredients, including animal-type ingredients. For the toppings, we usually anticipate to see juicy charsiu, which is a few slices of pork and chicken meat, marinated eggs. We get excited looking at a bowl of ramen, made of all these animal-type ingredients.
Can a bowl of vegan ramen bring out this kind of excitement? Can we get the same level of satisfaction from a vegan ramen dish? Can we make a bowl of vegan ramen with as much umami, impacts, and strong flavors as a bowl of ramen made with animal-ingredients?

Dissecting a bowl of vegan ramen

A good news is that a bowl of vegan ramen should be structured in a similar way to a normal bowl of ramen, made of animal-type ingredients. By looking at each component, noodles, soup/sauce, and toppings, we should see what ingredients are allowed to be used for it. What are the ingredients that can be used in vegan cuisines? Vegan diets are more strict than vegetarian diets.
According to some sources, the following are prohibited. 

All animal and animal-derived foods

Gelatin, fish-derived sauces, honey, bee pollen, casein, and whey, etc.
So, what are we left with? 

What are ingredients we can use for vegan ramen?

After all the animal and animal-derived ingredients disappear as our options to use as ingredients for our vegan ramen, we still have many options to use as the ingredients. For example, for base stock, there are many vegetables we can use to make great ramen base stocks with. Onions, celeries, tomatoes, etc. can be great candidates for your vegan soup. Or, non-animal-derived milk like soy milk and coconut milk. Various types of legumes like chickpeas. These are all good ingredients for good vegan ramen stocks. Motodare and flavored oils can be made from various types of flavoring ingredients that can be used in vegan cooking.

What kinds of ramen dishes are possible with vegan ingredients?

So, we now know that there are many ingredients we can use  to make good bowls of vegan ramen, but can we make bowls of vegan ramen as good as normal (made with animal-ingredients) bowls of ramen? What kinds of ramen can we make vegan?
What about tonkotsu ramen? What does it mean vegan tonkotsu ramen? That does not make sense. But the world-famous Ippudo, chain of ramen restaurants, famous for its tonkotsu ramen dishes started offering a bowl of all-plant-based tonkotsu ramen. It tastes like a bowl of tonkotsu ramen soup, using soy milk, kombu stocks, and mushrooms.
Another type of vegan ramen we've seen is dandan men (spicy miso-based ramen with strong sesame flavors. We think one of the keys to successful vegan ramen is that it tastes almost like a good bowl of authentic ramen (made with animal-type ingredients). Once you taste it, you'd be surprised to the point that you cannot believe there's no animal-type-ingredients used in it. Whatever the type of vegan ramen you are making, you want to envision the final tastes and flavors in a bowl first. Then figure out the ingredients and how to cook them into each component, base stock, motodare, and flavored oils to make the ramen soup or sauce.
At Yamato Ramen School, we are constantly experimenting and exploring ingredients, methods, and different styles of ramen. We are constantly evolving and sharing newly found knowledge and knowhows with students. It's never too late or early for you to start learning to develop your ramen skills and crafting your unique vegan ramen.

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