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Oct 15, 2009 10:17 PM

Ordering ramen noodles cooked 'hard?'

What do I say to order my ramen noodles hard or extra hard if they don't understand English? And they almost surely don't.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The term you want is "Katame" or "Firm"

    1. Pronounced "kah-tah-may".

      Also, occasionally you will find a place that will not cook the noodles katame, because they feel the noodles are not appropriate for it, or it throws off their timing, or some other reason, valid or not, but those places are definitely the minority.

      Extra hard would be "barikata", and that might be a problem at some places too.

      So although it's not likely, if you get some long string of Japanese back instead of "hai", when you ask for katame, don't take it personally.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kamiosaki

        Thanks to both responses. I feel much better prepared.

      2. 'katame de onegai-shimasu' is the best / most polite way to request it..

        literally " please prepare [my noodles] on the firm side..."

        2 Replies
        1. re: foreignmuck

          Awesome. I want to surprise them with my politeness and erudition. Of course, if my accent is too good I risk getting back a string of talk I don't understand.....

          1. re: Steve

            "Hanase Masen" should take care of that real quick.

        2. Some japanese-speaker told me that "ka tai meng" also works...but sounds pretty similar to "katame".

          1. I was wondering, why would you want your noodles cooked hard? Isn't that a Hakata ramen only thing? Have never heard anybody order a special noodle style in any other shop here in Tokyo.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Scharn

              Ramen Kazuki, for example, lets you order by firmness. Many shops will let you dial levels of noodle firmness, amount of garlic, and spiciness... And then again, many shops won't let you do any of this.

              1. re: Scharn

                I was thinking explicity of a shop I went to which had a very good stock but the default noodle prep was softer than I'd like. In my searches on the internet, I came across many references to ramen fans specifying they wanted the noodles cooked hard, but I wasn't sure how to do it.

                1. re: Scharn

                  The word "hard" is perhaps overstating it a bit, generally, most people who ask for this at a ramen shop are really looking for "firm", the equivalent of "al dente". That's the way I generally eat ramen/tsukemen/pasta, depending on the type of soup/sauce and the size/shape of the noodles. Also for many people texture is as much a part of a good dish as taste or aroma are.

                  Also if the soup is very hot, the noodles will cook a little more while they are in the bowl, so asking for them katame then helps keep them from getting too soft before you finish.