Tuesday, May 19, 2009

About Men

Another key part of the ramen is of course the men (めん), meaning noodles.
Please don't get the wrong idea!

Noodles is made from flour, water and egg (common sense?)
There are 2 basic types of noodles - Wavy noodles (Chijire Men, ちぢれめん) and straight noodles (Straight Men, ストレートめん).
Each type of noodle has varying thickness. So you will have for example medium chijire men or fine straight men.

Chijire men, being wavy in nature, is better is picking up the soup as compared to straight noodles. Because of that, it is mostly used in ramen that has soup that are milder, so that the noodle will pick up / absorb more soup for us to feel the taste.

On the other hand, straight men is usually used in ramen with a stronger soup base (e.g. miso, pork bone). Because the soup is already strong, it is sufficient for the noodle to just pick up a little of that.

From the type of noodles used in the ramen, you will be able to guess sometimes which part of Japan it originated from. For example, ramen from Hakata (Kyushu) ususlly uses super fine straight men, and that from Sapporo usually use medium chijire men.

Will write more about the characteristics of the different types of ramen later.

Till then, especially the ladies, enjoy the men!

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