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Photographs of Ramen, the Comfort Food Japan Has Elevated to a Fine Art

ラーメン肉3枚(味濃い目、もやし抜き)@のろし。By uka0310

“Ramen with three slices of pork.” Image by Flickr user uka0310, CC BY 2.0

While the rest of the world may be more familiar with sushi, perhaps Japan's most beloved food is ramen.

The bowl of noodles, sliced meat and vegetables, served with a steaming broth is both a lunchtime staple and a surefire way to soak up excess alcohol after a long night of barhopping.

Noodles have been elevated to a gourmet fine art in Japan. The country boasts a wide variety of ramen styles based on how the dish is prepared or the region of Japan where the style of ramen originated — Sapporo in the north and Fukuoka in the southwest have developed their own distinctive regional versions.

There is a wide variety of blogs and publications in Japan devoted to ramen.

Ramen Walker, a magazine devoted to sampling and cataloguing, has even built an online map of Japanese ramen restaurants throughout the country.

The magazine also frequently posts photos and mini-reviews of ramen restaurants on its Twitter account.

We tried chicken ramen in a salt broth for US$6 at “Bishomenten Noodle & Dining House.” (Hino City, Tokyo)

Ramen in salt broth for US$6.50 at Buckweat Noodle House “Seosan” (Asaka, Saitama)

Ramen for US$6.50 at Yoshikawa Ramen's new location in Kawagoe (Saitama)

The sophistication of ramen eateries can range from the humble standing-only stalls in busy train stations, to sit-down restaurants boasting full service and the atmosphere of a Chinese fine-dining establishment.

Many cities in Japan also have a vibrant street food culture, and ramen is a part of it.

Some ramen chefs ply their trade each night from the back of small modified trucks, like this one on the truck route in Tsuruga:

At “Iked-ya Gonchan” truck ramen in Tsuruga, Fukui  (*´﹃`*)   [#JR Tours Shizuoka]

Japan is also home to the Yokohama Ramen Museum. Besides providing an overview of the history of ramen in Japan, the Yokohama Ramen Museum recreates the Japan of 1958. This is an important year, for 1958 was when the Nissin company sold the world's first instant ramen.

The year 1958 also generates nostalgic memories of a simpler time in Japan that had rebuilt after the Second World War and was starting to enjoy material prosperity.

Unlike Ramen Walker, the Tokyo Ramen Museum doesn't have much of a Twitter presence, but has uploaded thirty or so images to its Instagram account.

昭和33年の街並。レトロでノスタルジック! #ラーメン#ラーメン博物館 #レトロ #昭和30年代 #shouwa #retoro

A photo posted by 新横浜ラーメン博物館(ramen museum) (@ramenmuseum) on

A street scene in Japan as it would have looked around 1958. Very retro and nostalgic!

If all this talk of ramen has whet your appetite and you want to explore the world of chukamen (中華麺) — or Chinese noodles — in English, All About Japan has collected a list of Japan's top ramen bloggers.

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