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Survival Japanese at the Ramen Shop!

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For those who don't know, ramen, or ラーメン, consists of Chinese-style noodles in a broth with toppings such as sliced pork, green onions and more. Below we present a quick list of the different types of ramen, as well as key vocabulary and phrases that will get you by at almost any ramen restaurant!

1. The 4 Basic Types of Ramen Soup

There are four basic types of broth for ramen:

Shoyu (醤油): soy souce
Shio (塩): salty vegetable broth
Miso (味噌): miso paste
Tonkotsu (豚骨): pork broth

On top of these four basic ramen soup styles, you will also find many variations and combination driven by regional preferences or restaurants competing to create unique dishes (like ebi ricchi ramen—rich shrimp ramen!).

2. Toppings

2. Toppings

Each ramen restaurant will offer different toppings for its ramen. Some toppings are a fixed part of the dish, while others can be ordered as options.

Nori (海苔): seawead
Negi (ネギ): green onions
Moyashi (もやし): soy sprouts
Tamago (卵): boiled egg
Chaashu (チャーシュー): grilled pork slices, a.k.a. char siu
Goma (ごま): sesame
Kohn (コーン): corn
Battaa (バッター): butter
Menma (メンマ): fermented bamboo shoots

3. Side Dishes

3. Side Dishes

Almost every ramen restaurant offers a set of typical side dishes. The most popular side dishes are simply:

Gyoza (餃子): dumplings
Chaahan (チャーハン): fried rice

And, of course, plain old rice, or raisu (ライス)!

4. Key Phrases

Here are a few patterns that will help you to get what you want at any ramen restaurant! And if you want to get the staff's attention, just say sumimasen (excuse me) to get started!

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