Here at Ramen Hero we get a lot of questions, from what Honkaku means (authentic) to how long our ramen kits stay good in your freezer (about six weeks), but there’s one question that we get more than any other: Is it ok to add my own toppings to my ramen?
First things first, not only can you put on your own toppings, you should put on your own toppings.
Photo Credit: Peter Wendt
We’re always experimenting in our kitchen - remember the time we made a Thanksgiving ramen with turkey and mashed potato? - and we encourage you to as well. Once you’ve made any of our bowls a few times and have the hang of the basics, you should feel free to try out whatever toppings inspire you.
But while we really do encourage people to become their own Willy Wonkas of ramen, we also want to provide some basic toppings guidelines to help ensure your customization experiments have the highest rate of success possible.
Long time ramen lovers will likely already have favorite toppings in mind including negi (green onion), moyashi (bean sprouts) and more, which are available at most Asian grocery stores. But for newcomers or long time ramen veterans looking to try something new, here are five of the most common toppings we see our customers add:
- Hot sauce: Sriracha is particularly popular, but use whatever hot sauce gives you the extra kick you’re looking for.
- Egg: Most add a poached egg, but the particularly adventurous can also try layering a fried egg on top.
- Tortilla chips: Simple, easy, and provides a little bit of extra crunch and saltiness to the mix.
- Bacon: They say bacon makes everything better, and diced bacon can give ramen bowls some pleasantly meaty texture to chew on in addition to the noodles.
- Kimchi: Our Korean-food loving friends insist that a teaspoon or so on top can give a bowl that extra bit of tangy, sour taste they crave.
Y'all ever cook up some potstickers and put them at the bottom of a bowl of Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen from @RamenHeroHQ at 10 o'clock at night for dinner before? Ya me neither 😆#ramenhero #spicytonkatsuramen #latenightdinner #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe #SelfIsolation pic.twitter.com/UY0qNC7tL6— Hapa_Fodder (@HapaFodder) April 10, 2020
No matter what toppings you decide to add, the critical component you want to be thinking of is balance. A good topping adds a little something extra to the taste, but we’d recommend staying away from anything that might change the essential texture and taste of the entire bowl.
And with that in mind, when adding a new topping for the first time, a good rule is start slow and build slow. For example, adding a few drops of hot sauce might well do the job, and if it doesn’t, you can always add a couple more. Start by pouring in an entire bottle and, well, we wish your taste buds a quick recovery.
Whatever toppings you add, we’d love to see them. Feel free to send along your creations through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and remember - there is no wrong way to ramen. If it tastes good to you, it’s good.