AIUEO - Ra – Ramen

Noodle Preference
Soup Preference
Additional Information

Hey Everyone! Today’s topic is Ra「ら」. Just the other day, I wrote about Ya「や」… It was the first time I hated the「や ya」row so much for the fact that it has three letters Ya-yu-yo「やゆよ」… Gosh.


Anyways, put the complaints aside. Let’s get started. When you see「ら ra」, you may think of the ramen「ラーメン」that everyone loves so much. Japanese really love their ramen. There are over 30,000 ramen shops in Japan! Depending on the area and shop, the taste of the soup and the type of noodles also vary. Surely everyone has their own favourite. This time, I am going to tell you about the phrases that you need to know when ordering ramen at a shop.

Noodle Preference

Let’s start with noodles! Depending on the shop, you might be able to choose how firm you want your noodles.

  • Soft – やわらかめ(yawarakame)
  • Medium – 普通(futsuu)
  • Slightly Firm – やや硬め(yaya-katame)
  • Firm – 硬め(katame)
  • Hard – バリ硬(bari-kata)
  • Wire – 針金(harigane)
As you go down the list, the noodles get firmer. When you challenge noodles with “Wire 針金(harigane)” hardness, it would be best to do it when your stomach is feeling well — haha

Soup Preference

Next up is the soup base. People’s preferences are pretty divided in this aspect.
  • Light – あっさり(assari): Soup is refreshing and not greasy.
  • Rich – こってり(kotteri): Soup is oily with a strong flavor and stock from pork bones.
  • Very Rich and Thick – 超こってり(cho-kotteri): Soup has a very strong flavor with lots of oil.


Now we will move on to toppings! What toppings do you like?
  • Cha-siu – チャーシュー(cha-shu): The king of ramen toppings! It is marinated pork that is cooked and thinly sliced.
  • Aji-tsuke Tamago – 味付け卵(ajitsuke-tamago), or Aji Tama味玉(ajitama): A boiled egg that is marinated in soy sauce.
  • Menma – メンマ(menma): Bamboo shoot that is boiled and fermented.
  • Green onions – ねぎ(negi): A herbal flavor that ramen must have! In Kanto(Eastern Japan), white long onions are popular, while green onions are popular in Kansai(Western Japan).

Additional Information

On top of all the information above, here’s two additional things which, if you know, would make you an expert!

  1. Kae-dama – 替え玉(kae-dama): Asking for seconds on only the noodles, without soup.
  2. Soup Wari – スープ割り(soup-wari): After finishing the tsukemen noodles, diluting the tsuke sauce with stock soup so that you can drink it.


At a particular ramen shop in the city, there is a menu called “Designated R-20” (individuals who are under 20 years old cannot order from it). So, what is in that ramen? ?
~~Thinking Time~~
OK! And the answer is~
Tequila! The menu has a notice, stating “Entirely Alcohol”. I heard that it even comes with lime, which is a must-have with tequila. It seems to be quite a special custom, haha. If you want to experience getting drunk while eating ramen, definitely go try it!

About the Author: 

Ayana Nezu has a long history in education and training. In 2017, she joined Coto Language Academy – her first time in a Japanese Language School. She currently is based at our Azabu Coto Japanese Club location and is recently obsessed with Rakugo.

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