Can anybody tell me…

…the difference between ramen and udon?

I do go for some Japanese delights once in a while but I am not all that familiar with the nitty-gritty details when it comes to what’s in store. Perhaps those of you experts, the true blue die-hard lovers of Japanese food would care to enlighten me?

I have had ramen before, all the way from Japan…and udon as well here and here and even in New Zealand, nor forgetting the ones from the US that my friend Philip gave me sometime ago…but, tell me – is this ramen or udon?

Vit's Mi Ramen

It comes at RM6.00 a pack for three individual vacuum packs inside…

Individual packs

…so that would work out to RM2.00 each…and it is big and thick and though it does look sort of yellowish in the photograph, it is actually quite white in colour.

On the back of the packet, they suggest cooking it Malaysian mamak-style…

Mamak-style

…but of course, that is out of the question. My girl is presently home for the mid-year school holidays and I think I did mention before that she is a purist and would frown at any attempt to cook anything in a style different from that peculiar to that particular cuisine alone.

That was why I went and bought this miso soup base…

Miso soup base

…(made in Taiwan) and used it to cook the soup to go with the noodles I had bought.

I boiled some water, enough for three bowls of noodles, and I threw in some shrimps/tiny prawns that I found in the freezer along with some sliced fish cake before fishing them out. I did the same with some golden needles (mushrooms) that I had and then, I threw in some tofu, cut into small cubes and bits of seaweed. Finally, I emptied the contents of the soup base into the pot and brought it to boil.

There were no specific instructions on the packet as to whether I should boil the noodles first but I saw in the mi ramen goreng recipe that the noodles should be rinsed before use. In the end, I just poured boiling water to blanch it and to loosen the strands before draining away all the water. Having placed it in the bowls, I arranged the prawns and fish cake slices and mushrooms all around and poured the soup over everything before garnishing it all with chopped spring onions and thin strips of seaweed…

Ramen in seafood miso soup 1

Oh yes! I did boil an egg as well to go with it – hard on the outside and runny on the inside…

The perfect egg

…and yes, I would say it was very nice. I enjoyed it and so did my girl and her mum.

So, who can tell me if this is ramen

Ramen in seafood miso soup 2

…or udon and while we are at this, do tell me also what soba is…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

22 thoughts on “Can anybody tell me…”

  1. Soba is thin and made from buckwheat flour. Ramen and Udon are both made from wheat flour. Udon is thick noodles like Chinese Dai Lok Noodle. Ramen is much thinner than Udon.

    So if your noodle in your post is made from wheat flour, then you need to see its thickness to tell whether it is ramen or udon. From your photo, it looks somewhat thick but may not be as thick and round like a cylindrical chopsticks which is Udon. The Udon I ate in a 100 years old Japanese eatery that only sells Udon and nothing else is really, really thick.

    I see you have succeeded in making your very own onsen egg. Looks really good. No matter what noodle it is, it is just a name, for food, the most important thing is the taste so since it is delicious, then all is good!

    I do think I have mastered the art of cooking eggs – hard egg white and ranging from completely runny to moist, not hard. Timing is important and I did not do so well with the peeling that day – shell stuck to the egg, they say that happens when eggs are very fresh. Oh? It’s called “onsen”, is it? Gee!!! Never too old to learn, learn new things every day.

    Never tried soba before…or not that I can recall. Maybe I should order that the next time I drop by that Japanese place in town. This one IS thick…like KL Hokkien mee or a bit bigger, almost the size of the chopsticks as you can see in the last photograph. You mean the difference is only in the size – like bihun…we have the extra thin ones…the usual…and the thick ones. We call the latter hung ngang, a different name…and there’s the “laksa” noodles over at your end?

  2. Whatever they are, just eat and enjoy them.. In fact I just had udon like yours this very morning… Different from those I eat in Japanese outlets… Finer and smoother like the ones Γ‘bove…

    Oh? So you call it udon…not ramen, eh? You cooked your own or you had that outside. Must have cost a bomb if you dine out in the States? Not all that cheap here – buying and cooking our own, the packet of noodles alone was already around USD2.00! I only bought it as I thought I could cook Japanese -style noodles for my girl for breakfast, home on holiday right now. Glad she enjoyed it!

  3. Ramen thinner, udon fatter? hehe.. Frankly, I like ramen’s liew into my udon.. The flavourful soup and egg in ramen, but using udon.. Udon usually just clear soup, that’s all.. So I like what you cooked.

    Is there any specific way of serving each of them? I thought like all noodles, anything goes? Ikut selera?

  4. For me, both the same. Lol. I seldom eat both so not much help from me.

    Same as me…but I know they’re not the same.

  5. Am zero at all these Japanese thingy, and like what Reana Claire says, eat whatever they are call…..and most important is nice and all of you enjoy them. I love the way you did your egg. Yummy!!!!…

    We two, half kati, eight tahil…not so into Japanese, just eat! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Some people call me an eggspert… Blush! Blush!

  6. I wouldn’t know the difference but it looks like you have some knowledgeable people who do.

    Yes, so it seems. Hehehehehe!!!!

  7. Seriously, I don’t know how to differentiate, ramen, udon or soba…I got to ask the waiter how’s it look like every time, hahaha…

    It’s good if the waiter knows – some places here, they do not seem to know anything…and can only speak Mandarin, nothing else. 😦

  8. Ramen is supposed to be normal sized noodles while udon is the thick and fat ones. Of course, ramen has become a common name worldwide nowadays that any noodles will be called ramen by some. In fact you see that Ramen Rater who mostly rates instant noodles >.<

    Oh? I know that website but all the while, I saw it as rameneater, didn’t realise my mistake. πŸ˜€ I read somewhere that ramen is Chinese in origin, udon is Japanese…and I clicked to see some ramen recipes – they look like instant noodles all right. Pretty sure, the fresh ones would be a little bit more than just that.

  9. Hahaha, I believe zmun2 provided a clear explanation of the differences. πŸ˜€
    I like them all, but for soba, I prefer them cold. πŸ˜‹

    Seen that, with ice cubes but I never tried. Had noodles served cold in the same manner at Coca, that Thai steamboat franchise…but I was just ok with it, not too thrilled by what I had then.

  10. all i know that they all delicious, but i prefer soba because it’s healhtier because made of buckwheat and had lower glisemic index…

    Can’t remember if I ever tried that – will order the next time I drop by this place.

  11. Soba is the easiest to recognise as it’s brown and I don’t like udon…thick and fat like those fried hokkien mee or lor mee noodles.

    Your onsen egg…almost there…good try….but I think it should look like this…kekeke! ;D
    http://eatwhateatwhere.blogspot.com/2015/01/kiku-zakura-great-eastern-mall.html

    Ooiii!!! Those people are highly-qualified professional chefs and you want to compare this small town kampung occasional cook to them? Theirs looks like poached and I am hopeless at that – never mastered the skill, the white will go swimming all over the place like synchronised swimmers. Fail big time. Mine is hardboiled egg with varying degrees of the yolk – runny, moist not hard…or hard, just boil and take the time, so very easy.

    Lor mee here, they use yellow noodles…and no KL Hokkien mee – I actually quite like those thick strands but of course, it depends on how well they cook the dish.

  12. Nevermind if you are unsure about ramen, udon or soba as long as your egg is PERFECT! Oh me oh my that is one perfectly done egg I’d love to have in my ramen!

    Thank you, thank you. You’re so sweet. It’s actually very easy to do – just put an egg straight from the fridge into the pot, fill with water – half the egg and put on the gas cooker top (smallest burner) and turn on the fire – keep rolling the egg around so the yolk will not end up on one side and when the water starts boiling, cover the pot and let it boil for around 4-5 mins and you will get this – hard egg white, yolk runny. Around 8 minutes, moist yolk, not runny and not hard and dry either. Just have to keep time, that’s all.

  13. Love the egg.. just had udon the other day, but outside of course, since I cannot cook as well as you ><

    Any guest room in your new house? Come, let me move in with you and your family and I’ll cook for everybody…and help babysit too when you and Janice go out romancing! πŸ˜€

  14. heh, well, your friend above has done a great job of explaining udon vs ramen … i think what you cooked was ramen, though it’s one of the thicker sorts of ramen … i prefer ramen compared to udon, cos i like the flavour and texture of ramen better … udon tastes a bit bland to me and doesn’t absorb flavours well and it’s a bit on the chewy side for me πŸ™‚

    Your description of udon is exactly like these ramen that I bought. I wonder if I should have boiled it – no instructions on the packet so I did not do that. 😦

  15. All this while I thought Ramen was wheat noodles while Udon thick rice noodles. Better google them.

    This one sure looks and tastes like thick rice noodles, the big bihun or what the Foochows call hung ngang, maybe a little softer and smoother, not as coarse but no, it seems udon is wheat too, not rice.

  16. I guess you could say the noodles are confused. I have had fresh Ramen and they certainly do not look like this. Maybe they are trying something new, who knows ?

    I don’t know these things exactly but this one does seem more like udon to me.

  17. The hard boiled egg is exactly the way I like it – onsen tamago eggs, cooked in the Japanese hot springs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen_tamago). I find doing it at home that 6.5 mins of boiling and then dunking in iced water gets me the best results. Of course, this may vary depending on size of eggs.

    Yes, if you do not peel and eat right away, you will have to dunk in ice water to prevent further cooking in the residual heat. Happened to me before – boiled the egg and then went on to do other things – by the time I peeled the egg, the yolk had gone all hard already. 😦

  18. I also thought that udon is made from rice flour, coz it remains me of 老鼠粉(Lao Shu Fen). But I know that ramen comes from Chinese word 拉麺 (La Mian).

    Besides the thickness, another possible differences between ramen and udon is the use of ιΉΌζ°΄(Jian Shui), Chinese alkaline salts, in ramen, thus making ramen more firm/chewy than udon. Btw, alkaline salts tend to give the noodles a yellowish hue.

    This is ramen, just that they are a little bigger than those I’ve seen before – they also produce udon, bigger and whiter and yes, something like our lau shu fen except that they are in long strands and not shaped like cendol.

    This ramen was firm like udon but I think it was because I did not boil to soften it, just soaked in hot water. I boiled the last packet and it was softer, so my final conclusion was this was ramen as stated on the pack and not udon. Will buy the udon one of these days to try but it is RM6 a pack, not cheap. 😦

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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