One of the many (many many) things I love about ramen is how much variety you get from bowl to bowl. There are so many different styles and types and varieties of ramen that what seems like it should be a simple dish (it’s just noodles and soup) has so much to offer.
There are some bowls of ramen that are subtle and light; on the other end of the spectrum is the bowl of slow-cooked pork rib ramen I just had from Hanamaruken in Osaka.
The broth here is unctuously, mouth-coatingly rich (though it thankfully never crosses the line into gravy soup territory). It’s also intensely flavoured, with a seafoody punch rounding out the in-your-face porkiness. There’s absolutely nothing subtle here; the flavour grabs you by the collar and screams in your face. And yet it’s not overbearing or one-note.
But what really makes this ramen noteworthy is the slow-cooked pork rib on top, subbing in for the typical chashu. It’s a big old hunk of deboned ribs that’s been slow-cooked until it’s so tender you can just pull chunks off with your chopsticks. It’s also browned on the griddle to give it some additional flavour/texture.
It’s so incredibly tender that even the cartilage has rendered down into a delicious, porky goo. And yet the meat itself still has texture — it’s not mushy at all, which can sometimes happen with slow-cooked meat like this.