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Aug 4, 2014 10:29 AM

Pork Ramen, what's the broth 'supposed' to taste like

I had pork ramen this weekend for the first time. (this is not my picture, I found it online because I forgot to snap a pic before I ate)
before I pass judgement, can someone familiar with this dish describe to me what the broth us supposed to taste like?

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  1. Ramen styles are generally categorized by their broth rather than their topping. Just because there's pork in the ramen doesn't mean that the broth is a pork broth. The basic broth styles are:

    Tonkotsu Ramen – White, milky, pork based soup.
    Shoyu Ramen – Brown, transparent, soy sauce based soup.
    Miso Ramen – Brown, non-transparent, miso based soup.
    Shio Ramen – Transparent, salt-based soup.

    So without knowing the broth style it's difficult to answer your question.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      So, other than shellfish toppings, no real concern for a shellfish allergy sufferer? Have stayed away because of this.

      1. re: ceekskat

        Many soups are made with dried shrimp and/or scallops. You would have to ask on a case by case basis.

        1. re: Silverjay

          Was afraid of that & will def ask, thanks.

    2. The broth was bland, virtually no saltiness that I was hoping for and the only discernible flavor (despite the brown-ish color) was a faint hint of Kombu/seaweed

      here is the menu

      3 Replies
      1. re: cgarner

        I can only really speak for London regarding ramen I've had outside Japan but IME the better places will specify the broth and a few places specalise in only one type of broth. The menu on the link looks very generic and going from that I'd say you had a poor rendition. Not sure where you're based but given the love (bordering obsession) for ramen on CH I'm sure you'll find some good pointers on your local board.

        1. re: cgarner

          Sounds like you got some bad broth that was put together without much forethought.

          1. re: cgarner

            Seems like a Chinese imitation of Japanese ramen, which is itself, a Japanese iteration of a Chinese dish in the first place. Japanese would usually call pork ramen "tonkotsu" which means "pork bone" and is made from simmering the bones. Broth should come out rich and milky, as mentioned. Also, typically they would use pork shoulder not pork belly.

          2. Tonkotsu ramen is the "porkiest" broth and has a rich, meaty flavor with a tongue-coating almost creamy texture from the collagen in the pork. Shio ramen is made with the lightest broth, but even still, since it is made with sea salt, you should detect some salinity here. I think you may have just had bad ramen.

            1. this actually gives me a reason to be happy, at least I can deduct that the bowl which I had is NOT representative of what a good bowl of ramen is SUPPOSED to taste like, and I can move on to go try and find a good bowl
              (I love soup!)
              thank you for the descriptions of the different broths and explaining that the accouterments do not necessarily dictate which broth will be used

              1. There is no one single flavor profile for ramen, except that a good one should be complex. Ramen masters spend years developing their recipe. The stock and the base can take hours to prepare. The look usually ranges from thin and brown to cloudy yellow, orange, brown, and even milky white.

                I love this video in Tokyo of an unusual shrimp ramen, because it shows the effort that goes into the product:


                4 Replies
                1. re: Steve

                  The chef in that video is Keisuke Takeda. He's famous for using French and Asian techniques to make his broth. Traditional ramen shops don't those methods.

                  1. re: L C

                    Yes, like I said it is unusual. Here is another video that I find interesting:


                    1. re: Steve

                      Nice video. That's a Jiro Kei style shop (Japanese text: Yume Wo Katare , Kyoto location), that specializes in what's best described as a heart attack in a bowl. That unique style was invented in Tokyo. Yume is a small chain, but they have a US location in Boston (opened 2012).

                      That "Mega Ramen" has a mountain of bean sprouts stir fried in pork fat, topped with garlic and a few thick pork slices. Customers can ask for more chopped fat (ugh!) and extra garlic. Regular ramen shops don't pile as much food like that.

                      This also is not a traditional ramen shop. It's a pork broth, but these chefs don't like to be categorized with other tonkotsu broth shops. They consider themselves a unique separate category. In Japan, few shops specialize on this modern style. It's extreme food, the fattiest and greasiest ramen bowl in the world.

                      1. re: L C

                        Nice. You definitely know your stuff.