Ryo's Ramen Talk No.4
Shouyu Soup (Chicken & Fish Broth)
Here, I would like to talk about our "Shouyu Ramen” soup. However, before I get into our main topic, I will like to first clear up a common misconception regarding the “Shouyu Ramen”. Shouyu Ramen directly translates to Soy Sauce Ramen. Many people believe soy sauce is spelled or pronounced “shoyu”, and therefore pronounce the “Shouyu Ramen” as “Shoyu Ramen”. However, the correct pronunciation is in fact “Shouyu Ramen”. Unlike the Tonkotsu Ramen, from the name "Shouyu ramen" alone, there is not enough information to immediately assume what sort of broth the ramen uses. Although "Tonkotsu ramen" is defined to be "Pork-bone ramen," the Shouyu Ramen has been known to use various ingredients to flavor its soup. It mainly uses chicken (or chicken bone) broth. In fact, Shouyu ramen is the most widely served ramen in Japan (the world), so the varieties of Shouyu Ramen found across Japan are countless. The Shouyu Ramen traditionally uses chicken (or chicken bones), but there are types of Shouyu Ramens that mix/use fish broth, vegetable soup, pork bone, pork back fat, shellfish, and much more. People consider Shouyu ramen to originate from Tokyo since the arguably “first ramen shop”, Rai Rai ken, served the Shouyu Ramen from Tokyo. But, the Shouyu Ramen represents many other regions and has been localized to be known as the Tsugaru ramen, Kitakata ramen, Sano ramen, Kyoto ramen, Onomichi ramen, and much more!
As an especially unique Shouyu ramen, Toyama Black ramen is also very famous. Its black color of the broth is a result from the soy sauce. Because there are thousands of unique varieties of Shouyu Ramen, it is extremely hard to standardize the Shouyu Ramen. Our Shouyu Ramen broth is created using a mixture of chicken and fish, and our particular type of Shouyu ramen has roots in Tokyo. What I originally wanted to create was a Shouyu Ramen that we can either enjoy after drinks or at the beach. This is first of all, because it is very common in Japan to have a bowl of ramen after we drink (or got drunk). Whenever I am drunk in Japan, my damaged stomach can’t handle dense, greasy foods. In these cases, I always ask for simple, non-greasy hot soup. Of these soups, I have found that the Shouyu Ramen is my absolute favorite. Just as it is popular in Japan to eat Ramen after drinking, it is very popular to enjoy a bowl of Ramen at the beach.
In Japan, there are many summer-season-limited restaurants on beach. Shouyu ramen is always a main food item at these beach restaurants. After swimming in cold waters for many hours, a nice hot bowl of ramen is perfect for warming up a chilled body. In both cases, several shakes of white pepper are the perfect complement of the Shouyu ramen, so I urge you all to try it! Our Shouyu Ramen uses wavy egg noodles, and the soup is always crystal clear. Since our Tonkotsu broth is thick and heavy, we wanted to keep our Shouyu broth light and lean. Preparing our chicken broth cooking doesn’t require days of boiling, unlike our Tonkotsu broth. However, maintaining the quality of our chicken broth is a lot more difficult than maintaining our pork broth. Keeping the clearness and temperature of the chicken broth requires precise flame control. The Shouyu Broth’s temperature must always be right below the boiling point. Any mistake can significantly change the flavor of the broth. Just as we only use authentic ingredients for our Tonkotsu Broth pot, we use nothing but natural chicken and dried fish flakes in our Shouyu Broth pot. Consequently, each of our stores has large amounts of chickens and fish flakes at the end of every night. On a side note, Samurai Noodles receives many samples of soup ingredients and noodles from outside sales representatives. They try to advertise their product by saying “XXXX uses this,” or “it is really good to keep consistent pork flavor/chicken flavor,” etc. Sure, artificially synthesized products probably taste good. Using these products is probably easier than boiling broths for days, or having to maintain flame control. Some people most likely won’t be able to tell the difference. It also will likely lower our production cost. However, if we sell pre-made soup ingredients or noodles that other ramen shops or even customers can also buy, what is the meaning of our existence as a ramen shop? Is making our job cheaper and easier worth sacrificing our tradition and originality? What sort of service and excitement could we possibly provide for our customers if you could buy our food off a shelf at a supermarket? At Samurai Noodle stores, we fill each bowl of ramen with our authentic Japanese ramen culture so you can enjoy a unique experience you can’t get at home.