In Japan, when classifying ramen, the soup is more important than the noodles, and there are many different types of ramen. It is also common to add various ingredients (toppings) on top of the noodles, and there are a great many different types of ramen.
Have you ever heard of the term "local ramen"?
There are more than 100 types of local ramen throughout Japan, including Sapporo ramen and Hakata ramen. Each local ramen has its own unique flavor, noodles, and ingredients, and is rich in regional color and character. In recent years, new types of local ramen have emerged as a way to revitalize towns, but there are also many local ramen varieties that have been popular as local gourmet foods for a long time.
Hokkaido ramen, introduced in our previous blog , is one such local ramen. The ramen introduced here is also a local ramen, and is called “Ie-kei” Ramen, which originated in Yokohama.
“ Ie-kei “ Ramen is a general term for ramen strongly influenced by Yoshimuraya, which opened in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1974. Although its birthplace is Yokohama, its fame and popularity have already spread nationwide, with disciples and grand-disciples setting up stores in various locations and major restaurant chains following suit. Ie-ke Ramen consists of three elements: a pork-bone and soy sauce-based soup flavored with "chicken oil" extracted from chicken, thick noodles, and simple toppings: chashu pork, green onions, spinach, and nori seaweed.
At the time of its establishment, Yoshimuraya had a storefront along an industrial road where trucks could park. Since the target customers were truck drivers, the restaurant was open for business so that they could eat in the morning, and it is believed that the food was seasoned heavily so that the sweaty drivers could enjoy the delicious taste.
Rice was also on the menu to give the physically exhausted drivers a full meal. Rice goes so well with the rich soup and ingredients that some restaurants even offer it free of charge, making it an essential part of Ie-kei Ramen. So don't forget to order rice. There is such a history behind why many Ie-kei Ramen restaurants serve rice!
So be sure to try their "Shoppa -Uma " = "Salty-Yummy" Ie-kei Ramen, a perfect balance of pork bone broth and soy sauce broth, accented with chicken oil!