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Ramen is a popular noodle-soup that comes as close to satisfying as many people as a dish can. It has a wide range of tasty incarnations, enjoyed by cheap college students, drinkers, vegans, and even high-end foodies. There just might be a style for everyone to join in on the noodle-slurping fun with.
So it should come as no surprise that this almost universal comfort food has fans who prefer to enjoy it with particular toppings. While the variety of broth and noodle styles sets up the base of the dish, different (and sometimes quirky) toppings can be used to unlock interesting flavor combinations. That’s why a recent survey asked 200 male ramen lovers, aged 20-30, to list their favorite ramen toppings.
While you can just enjoy the works by throwing them all in your ramen, a lot of people prefer their toppings based on the type of ramen they are having. However you enjoy it, here are the top five standouts:
1. Green Spring Onion (Scallions)
No surprise here! Whatever ramen-base you prefer, having something crisp and refreshing to take the edge off the salt seems to be a common go-to. While sometimes substituted with spinach, the green color looks right at home in the middle of an appetizing bowl of ramen. Whether it's a sit-down joint or just an instant cup, you almost always find these guys swimming in your broth. Some comments from those surveyed follow:
A common topping in northern Japan variations of Japan, particularly Sapporo Ramen, throwing a cold slab of butter into the broth and letting it melt to add a subtle thickness goes a long way in adding another step to your bowl of fun. Some comments:
3. Garlic Paste
If you're a garlic lover, then a steaming bowl of hot noodly goodness is practically begging to have some ground garlic paste mixed into it. You can usually find these in self-serve jars at most ramen counters. Some prefer their garlic in the dried chip variety, but the paste is easy to mix in.
4. Black Pepper
Next up we have black pepper. This is also typically a self-service item, and adds a welcome kick to your ramen! Some places even carry a Yuzu variety for some citrus flavor.
(Fifth place is a three-way tie!) For a nice nutty flavor, sesame does the trick. You can find it in both paste and seed varieties.
5. Dried Seaweed
It's honestly pretty hard to imagine a bowl of ramen that doesn't have a few slices of nori (dried seaweed) garnishing it, but ramen enthusiasts will often order a few extra with their noodles.
5. Raw Egg
This may sound a little strange depending on your background, but don't fret. Eating raw egg with food in Japan is not uncommon, and rather safe. While it has its own flavor, it really adds consistency as a topping. Those not so adventurous can opt for eggs that aren't raw, though!
Those are the top five, but rounding out the top then are corn, chili oil, and mustard greens. It seems that most of the top ten are the safe old-and-tested toppings, but we encourage you to get adventurous and try as many toppings as you can! If you can fit it in a cup or bowl, then it's all good!