Kurume Ramen is just one of the wide varieties of ramen available in Japan. Aside from rice, the Japanese also have a high consumption of ramen. It’s not just full of flavors, but it also gives comfort and delight to many.
What is Kurume Ramen?
While many areas in Japan have their own ramen version, Kurume City of Fukuoka Prefecture also has one. Kurume Ramen is a tonkotsu ramen that has a thick soup and a strong odor. It also uses thicker noodles in comparison with Hakata Ramen. In addition to that, it uses seaweed strips to complete the dish.
|They often use Ajitama or marinated eggs as toppings.|
|Hakata Ramen, they are also straight and firm.While the noodles are slightly thicker than|
|It also contains wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and char siu.|
|Seaweed is an essential ingredient.|
|Kumamoto Ramen.They don’t garnish it with charred garlic in comparison with|
|The tonkotsu odor is also stronger than other kinds of tonkotsu ramen.|
|Besides the soup being similar to Hakata, Kurume Ramen’s soup is cloudy and thicker.|
Meanwhile, Kurume Ramen uses the traditional method of cooking the pork bone soup called “replenishment”. This method is adding new soup when the boiling one is already running low. According to Japan Food Research Laboratories, the umami of Kurume Ramen is 17 mg for every 100 grams of soup. With this in mind, it is about 2.8 times more than regular ramen soup.
What is the history of Kurume Ramen?
During the early times of Japan, the Chinese heavily influenced the country in many ways. For example, they have adapted a lot of cooking methods from them. With this in mind, Chinese soba spread in Japan like wildfire.
It was in 1945 when the first ramen in Kyushu was born. Moreover, they believe that the roots of this ramen came from the original Chinese soba. At first, the soup is not as thick as it is today. However, the current version of Kurume Ramen was made by accident. Since then, the cloudy and strong odor soup has been the standard. It also became popular not just in Kyushu, but all over the country.
As a matter of fact, they believe that Kyushu is the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen. It is now one of the most sought-after types of ramen not just in Japan, but worldwide.
Back in 1945, Tokio Miyamoto opened an udon stand in Kurume City. He got the inspiration when he went to Kanto Prefecture after hearing about the famous Sina Soba. In fact, this noodle dish is well-known in Tokyo and Yokohama at that time.
Sina Soba has a refreshing taste of Kanto-style soy sauce and a broth which came from boiled chicken and pork bones. Because the process included boiling chicken and pork bones, the umami blended well with the soy sauce. Sina Soba is also a cheap and fulfilling food choice during the Great Depression in Japan. For this reason, it became popular with townsmen when they were in the middle of a recession.
On the other hand, Mr. Miyamoto is actually from Nagasaki Prefecture. So, he used lard (pork fat) in frying the ingredients before adding them to the soup. Thus, he had several trials and errors before he came up with the final product. After a few attempts, he decided to simmer just the pork bones. This marked the birth of tonkotsu ramen.
How did the cloudy soup of Kurume Ramen begin?
During the Pacific War in 1947, a stall named Sankyu offered Chinese Soba with cloudy soup. Katsumi Sugino, the owner of the food stall, learned the process of making Chinese Soba in the Kanto region. He made the soup by boiling the pork bones in low heat which makes a clear soup. One day, he went home only to find out that his mother accidentally boiled it for a long time.
Hence, the soup became a bit darker and cloudy. So, he decided not to sell it in the store and add some seasonings to it. When he added the sauce to the dark and thick soup, it has a deep and rich taste. Mr. Sugino then offered it in the store and it became a favorite during the Great Depression in Japan.
Later on, Kurume Ramen is now one of the best foods in Japan. It is also hailed as a specialty food of Kurume City.
The difference between Kurume Ramen, Nagahama Ramen, and Hakata Ramen
Even though these three are all tonkotsu ramen varieties, they all have an identity of their own. It can be confusing at first, but you will be able to distinguish one from the others in no time.
|Kurume Ramen||Nagahama Ramen||Hakata Ramen|
|thicker noodles than Hakata||thin noodles||thin noodles|
|longer cooking time||quick to cook||takes time to cook|
|cloudy and dark soup||rich and cloudy soup||think but light in color soup|
Kurume Ramen Recipe
Since Kurume Ramen is almost similar to Hakata Ramen and Kumamoto Ramen, the ingredients are also somewhat the same. For instance, they both have char siu and wood ear mushrooms. In this article, you will know how to cook Kurume Ramen in detail.
Kurume Ramen Ingredients
This recipe is good for 5 to 6 people. Although the process can be tedious, it’s definitely worth the effort!
|Pork Bones Soup|
|a slab of pork bones||1 kg|
|soy sauce||120 g|
|shallot (skin on)||30 g|
|scallions (chopped)||100 g|
|pork bones broth||300 cc|
|kelp slices||4 pcs|
|fish sauce||300 cc|
|light soy sauce||300 cc|
|umami seasoning||20 g|
|garlic heads||3 pcs.|
|Toppings and Noodles|
|dry ramen noodles (thick and straight)||300 g|
|char siu||12 slices|
|roasted sesame oil||60 g|
|wood ear mushrooms||170 g|
|red pickled ginger||20 g|
|white pepper||20 g|
|mustard miso||15 g|
|grated garlic||60 g|
|scallions (chopped)||360 g|
|onions (chopped)||150 g|
|nori strips||12 pcs.|
|Ajitama (marinated eggs)||6 pcs.|
Of course, some ingredients are optional. For example, red pickled ginger is not required but you can put it if you like. Some of the condiments like mustard miso are spicy, so it’s better to put it in moderation. Instead of lard, you can replace it with vegetable oil. However, it is highly recommended to use lard for a stronger flavor.
On the other hand, they don’t top it with charred garlic unlike in Kumamoto Ramen.
How to make Kurume Ramen?
To begin with, prepare the pork bones soup by tying it with kitchen twine. Of course, this will prevent it from falling apart. Then, put all ingredients of the pork bone soup in a pot with a lid. As soon as the ingredients are well-combined, submerge the pork bones into it and cook for at least 3 hours. When the soup is already running low, add some new soup and let it simmer for an hour or two.
Meanwhile, combine all ingredients of Tonkotsu Sauce in a pot and cook it on high heat. Then, turn the heat low and simmer it for another 10-15 minutes. Make sure that it has cooled down already before straining. After removing the solid ingredients, set the sauce aside.
In order to serve the noodles easily, cook each portion separately. When it is ready, pour some pork bones soup and tonkotsu sauce. After that, place all other ingredients. Finally, top it off with char siu, Ajitama, and nori strips.
Where to eat Kurume Ramen?
In the hope that you can get the best Kurume Ramen experience, we listed some of the most recommended restaurants in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Ramen Kurume Honda Shoten Main Store (拉麺 久留米 本田商店 久留米本店)
In addition to the simple taste of garlic, the store adds spicy miso to their Kurume Ramen. Thus, making the soup even extra flavorful. They also use medium-thin noodles that are one hundred percent homemade. Together with the rich soup, this makes their Kurume Ramen a favorite among locals.
Nankin Senryo Ramen (南京千両 本家)
Not only does Nankin Senryo Ramen a long-established store, they also serve one of the best ramen bowls in the area. As a matter of fact, they are said to be the originator of Kurume Ramen. Thus, their Kurume tonkotsu ramen has a refreshing taste that doesn’t have any pork fat floating. The noodles they use are also medium-thick and healthy. Due to its characteristics, it’s somewhat different from others.
Taiho Ramen Main Store (大砲ラーメン 本店)
Taiho Ramen is, in fact, a famous store with over 12 stores in Kyushu alone. In fact, they are well-known for their signature dish which they call “Old Ramen”. Another exceptional thing about their Kurume Ramen is the char siu and fried lard balls that they put on top. Thus, making their Old Ramen a bowl of exploding flavors.
Kurume Ramen is a type of tonkotsu ramen that is exclusive in Kurume City. It has a cloudy and rich-tasting soup. It’s also comparable to Hakata Ramen but has an identity of its own. In addition to that, it’s usually topped with marinated egg and seaweed strips. Hence, making this a local food representative of Kyushu.