Jul 4, 2018
Gallery - Bottom of the Ramen Bowls
I made a rule to myself quite a while ago: if I enjoy the bowl of ramen, I must walk away with the bottom of the bowl visible.
The idea is simply that the soul of a bowl of ramen is in the broth. A ramen master often takes tens of hours to make the broth, a recipe that took them years to fine-tune and perfect. The noodles, on the other hand, are slightly less significant, as most shops would simply import noodles from their trusted noodle factories.
With that in mind, I always think that I am ordering a bowl of delicious soup with noodles as ingredients, thus I drink it all up.
Of course, I understand that the soup is also the unhealthy part due to its high sodium content, so when I eat at a shop that turns out to be below my expectations, I would leave the soup at the end. Otherwise, it is all the way until the last drop.
Another reason why I often drink the soup up is simply the satisfaction of seeing the bowl completely emptied at the end, especially when the shop appreciates it too. One yokohama-iekei ramen shop I go to has a stamp card system that you would get a stamp for finishing up the ramen including the broth, and 10 stamps will net you a free bowl (which you can also finish up to earn another stamp!)
Some shops with customized ramen bowls also hide little cute messages at the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes it is the logo or the name of the shop, sometimes it is a little “thank you as always”, and the one that stood out to me is the famous noboshi (dried fish soup) shop Nagi hiding a message at the bottom of the ramen bowl, saying “we (the fish) never regretted becoming dried fish!”. Whether that is really how the fish felt is another issue, but it is the idea that I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t drink the soup up, and of course, I drank it all up because they showed quality.
I like to think that the shop owner would be happy to see how much I appreciated his mastery.