Never ending journey to finding ideal bowls of shoyu ramen

Mar 18 / akira
Shoyu ramen is one of the oldest types of ramen that has been evolving as a noodle dish and modified and polished by a great number of ramen shops over the past 100 years. Shoyu is the ultimate and oldest seasoning Japanese have been using along with miso. They are both related in terms of ingredients used. Shoyu is more liquid than miso and with higher sodium levels.
There are a number of regional ramen dishes that use shoyu as their main motodare (seasoning), and you'd be surprised to learn all the subtleties and varying flavors and umami among them. 
Shoyu itself can be categorized largely into 5 or 6 types with varying colors, sodium levels, and strength of umami. There is regular dark soy sauce, which is an all-purpose soy bean liquid that can be used for different foods. Darker from this soy sauce are refermented and fermented soy sauces, which are aged for longer time with more amount of soy beans, which bring out more umami in the liquid.
Lighter than the dark soy sauce in color sweet soy sauce, light soy sauce, and white soy sauce. Basically these soy sauces are made with less aging time, less soy beans, and more salt.
So, it is basically a tradeoff between umami, color, and sodium level. Depending on the final shoyu ramen soup you are trying to achieve, you will pick your soy sauces (or blend of a few types). For example, some shoyu ramen's soup is lighter in color, almost translucent with strong sodium.
A handful of great ramen shops have been superb bowls of shoyu ramen, by pulling great feats of cooking methods, selection of excellent ingredients, etc. But they are still getting better. Creating a ideal bowl of shoyu ramen seems to be never-ending journey many shops have been taking.

Crafting your own shoyu ramen

What is your favorite bowl of shoyu ramen? Is there any particular bowl that comes to your mind? A typical good bowl of shoyu ramen may be hot bowl of shoyu soup with base stock made with chicken and seafood (bonito flakes and others), seafood-based soy sauce motodare, and scallop and garlic flavored oils. The noodles are medium-sized with good firm textures. It's topped with charsiu that's cooked at a low temperature. When you smell the bowl, you get hit by strong and complex flavors of chicken, seafood, and soy sauce.
Or, could it be a bowl of tsukemen with dipping soup that's heavy with thick tonkotsu (pork bones) stock, seafood stocks, and fine fish powder. The noodles are thick and chewy and firm at the core. Dipping the noodles in the soup and munching them in your mouth gives satisfying sensations. Combination of pork or chicken and seafood can be addictively good.
Whatever your desired or ideal shoyu ramen is, you can actually start crafting it by yourself. You just need to know how it tastes, smell, and feels. But the journey to your ideal shoyu ramen may never end like all the world-famous ramen shops have been trying to reach for decades. But having your signature shoyu ramen can put your ramen brand on the map. So, it's worth the trip and your efforts.

What is important in creating a great bowl of shoyu ramen?

How would you go about making a great bowl of shoyu ramen? We think what is most important is your vision. Try as many great bowls of shoyu ramen as you can and see if you can come up with your best version of shoyu ramen. Understand why a particular bowl of shoyu ramen makes that many raving fans and long lines. There must be some elements of the shoyu ramen that keeps many people captivated. You want to take those elements and incorporate them into your ramen bowl.
Is that the unique flavors of the shoyu tare or big juicy slices of charsiu that's been cooked to a perfect condition? Or, is it the unique texture of the thin and firm noodles that go perfectly well with the shoyu soup? Whatever you may find amazing in that bowl, you can integrate it into the bowl of your shoyu ramen.
And there is no easier place for you to be able to do that than Yamato Ramen School. As it is online, it's easier and faster than ever before. And the best part is that you can start crafting your shoyu ramen today. There is no better time to start than today.

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