If you are having “Hakata ramen,” you have got to master all about the hardness of the noodles and about “kaedama” (or second serving of noodles on a previously purchased ramen bowl.)

It is likely that everybody here knows “Hakata ramen.” Japanese ramen is popular among foreigners, so there may even be many of you who have actually eaten it before. This ramen is characterized by the combination of its extra fine noodles with a rich and milky tonkotsu soup. But, aside from its content, it is known for the fact that customers can choose the hardness of the noodles, and also as the originator of the “kaedama,” which consists in adding a second serving of noodles to your ramen bowl.

These two characteristics were thought up in order for slow eaters to be able to enjoy the delicious taste of the extra fine noodles, which tend to get soggy, until the very end of their meal. There is a slight knack to placing an order, but let’s use this opportunity to learn how to do it. Those around you will undoubtedly be impressed by your knowledge if you are able to order your ramen smartly.



Do you know what it means when somebody orders “Hakata ramen, with “harigane”(=Wire) noodles”?

There are special expressions to refer to the hardness of the noodles. Of course, you can also say “katame de” (rather hard,) but since you have come all this way, you might as well learn and try to place a proper order. These are the names of the noodles from softest to hardest: “yawa,” “futsuu,” “kata,” “barikata,” “harigane,” “konaotoshi,” and “yugetooshi.”

Relatively harder noodles are the most popular. For beginners, it is probably better to order their noodles either “kata” or “barikata.” It is okay to leave “harigane” and harder options for later on, after you become used to hard noodles. Especially when it comes to the level of “konaotoshi” and “yugetooshi,” there are many cases in which the noodles are practically raw, so not many people order these.



Even if you have a small appetite, remember the existence of the “kaedama”

As stated before, the noodles used in “Hakata ramen” tend to get soggy easily so, in order for customers to be able to finish them up before that happens, the servings are rather small. Because of this, even if you are not that much of a big eater, it would not hurt to know about the “kaedama” system.

Go ahead and try it – say “kaedama onegaishimasu” (lit. kaedama, please) to the staff. Even in restaurants where you have to purchase a ticket in advance, they will usually allow you to place your order directly. When you order a “kaedama,” they will bring you a new serving of noodles only. You are supposed to put it in the bowl of soup that you already have to eat it. Of course, this is a paying service, but you can keep reordering noodles as many times as you would like to. Just be careful because the soup will get cold.

The system to choose the hardness of the noodles, alongside with the “kaedama” service, are now available at many ramen restaurants, even if they do not specialize in “Hakata ramen.” How about you master this system with “Hakata ramen” as your first step to become a ramen connoisseur?






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