Overview

While soy sauce-based broths are almost a standard feature here, the ramen from Japan's Chubu region is full of the creativity in taste and texture that ramen cuisine is famous for. Flavours include Niigata's pork fat heaviness, the spicy broths of Nagoya, Toyama's salt and pepper pungency and range all the way to the surprising light ramen found in Gifu. Noodles, while generally medium thick, also offer up some interesting variations. Here is a simple introduction to just some of the ramen in Chubu.

Tsubame-sanjo ramen, Niigata

Tsubame-sanjo ramen from Niigata prefecture is made with wide, flat noodles served in a soy sauce broth flavoured with dried fish stock and mackerel. What sets this bowl of ramen apart from others, though, is the addition of a most generous amount of pork back fat, allowing the ramen to retain heat in the middle of winter.

Tsubame-sanjo ramen, Niigata (Photo: <a href="http://ramen.livedoor.biz/archives/50304445.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Image by  小○さん </a>)
Tsubame-sanjo ramen, Niigata (Photo: Image by 小○さん )

Takayama ramen, Gifu

Almost soba-like, Takayama ramen from Gifu prefecture features very thin curly noodles and a soy sauce broth flavoured with bonito fish stock. Different from other ramen in that the broth and stock are boiled together, Takayama ramen's light appearance and texture belies a flavouring that is actually quite deep and full of umami.

Takayama ramen, Gifu (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/160346291@N07/30706090218/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Ervaar Japan / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Takayama ramen, Gifu (Photo: Ervaar Japan / CC BY 2.0)

Black ramen, Toyama

Noodles with a medium thickness and a jet-black broth made from plenty of soy sauce are the signature features of black ramen from Toyama prefecture. The addition of pork, liberal amounts of pepper as well as shredded negi green onion gives this unique ramen dish a very strong and impact creating flavour.

Black ramen, Toyama (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toyama_Black_Daiki.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Totti / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Black ramen, Toyama (Photo: Totti / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Taiwan ramen, Nagoya

A variation of the popular tantanmen, Taiwan ramen from Nagoya prefecture is a soy sauce-based broth filled with chilli oil-stir fried shallots, pork mince and bean sprouts. The noodles are of a medium thick style which gives Taiwan ramen a solid heartiness to it that goes well with the liberal amounts of chilli flavour.

Taiwan ramen, Nagoya (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/130650195@N02/24158731758" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Kazuki Ohtsu / CC BY-ND 2.0</a>)
Taiwan ramen, Nagoya (Photo: Kazuki Ohtsu / CC BY-ND 2.0)