The tare in a shōyu ramen is made from soy sauce, but it’s more complex than just that stuff you pour on top of lo mein, according to the chefs. Mirin, sake, and sugar are also mixed into the tare, to give an even higher umami-boost to the broth. How exactly those flavors are balanced, though, can be as varied as your attempts to recreate your mom’s pie crust. “It’s a special sauce and each Japanese restaurant has their own recipe,” Valencia says. “And in some cases, it’s saltier, or sweeter, but it depends on the chef.” Typically, the shōyu broth is made with chicken bones, but pork bones can also be used, and it’s got a darker, slightly brown color from the soy sauce.
Noodles & Toppings:
Shōyu ramen traditionally has greens, scallions, and nori, but one staple you won’t usually find? A soft boiled egg. That runny yolk can throw off the balance of the broth, so a lot of chefs opt to leave it out. Instead, stick with with chatsu pork as a topping, or chicken, like Valencia does at Ani Ramen. Noodles are normally on the thin side, but wavy to get some extra broth flavor into your slurp. If you’re really looking to make sure you eat your greens, Takahashi suggests brussels sprouts as another great add-on.