The key difference between Ramen and Udon is that Ramen is always served hot while Udon can be served either hot or cold.
Both Ramen and Udon are popular Japanese noodle dishes. Ramen is a popular Japanese noodle soup that consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles, while Udon is a thick, soft, white Japanese noodle. Udon noodles are typically thicker than Ramen. Moreover, Ramen uses a heavy topping since the noodle is thin, while Udon uses a simple topping since the noodle is thick.
What is Ramen?
Though Ramen is a famous Japanese dish, it is considered to be originated in China. However, it has been evolving in Japan for more than 100 years. Ramen is tasty, popular, and affordable. The main ingredients of ramen noodles are wheat flour, water, salt and kansui. Due to the addition of kansui, the noodle has a slight yellow colour. This noodle can be either thin or thick, long or short, curly or straight when prepared.
Ramen is usually served in hot broth, which is based on meat, fish or sometimes vegetables. Meat-based broths are made from beef bones, pork bones, or kelp. This broth is generally flavoured with either miso paste or soy sauce. When serving, it can be topped with ingredients such as egg, sliced pork, nori, corn, butter, green onions, carrots, or bamboo shoots. To make it more delicious, chilli peppers, white pepper, black pepper, crushed garlic, and sesame seeds can be used for seasoning. Based on these toppings, broth, and the ingredients used, the calorie content of this dish can vary from 200-600. There are different Ramen dishes, and in different regions of Japan, this dish has different tastes.
Types of Ramen Dishes
- Shio ramen is salty and include a mixture of fish, chicken, seaweed and vegetables
- Miso ramen, which uses miso paste, has a sweet taste.
- Tonkotsu Ramen is a dish that includes pork bone marrow and hails from the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan’s Kyushu Island.
- About 700 miles northeast of Fukuoka in Tokyo, Japan, one of the more popular Ramen dishes, Shoyu Ramen can be found. It consists of a soy sauce broth with vegetable or chicken stock.
- Curry ramen is made with vegetables and pork bones.
Ramen is also available as low-cost instant noodle packages. They contain a little more than a portion of pre-cooked noodles. By adding hot water and the seasoning packet that comes in a variety of flavours, a delicious Ramen dish can be easily made. But, in such packages, the content of sodium is very much higher. In restaurants or homemade Ramen dishes, the sodium content is low due to the usage of fresh ingredients.
What is Udon?
Udon is a thick, soft, white Japanese noodle made of wheat flour. It has a smooth texture and a subtle taste. It can be served either hot or chilled. If it is served chill, it should include a dipping sauce. The toppings vary depending on the region. But basically, the toppings include tempura, scallions, prawn, shrimps, kamaboko and aburaage.
Cold Udon can also be decorated with fresh vegetables, shredded chicken, and slices of egg omelettes. This noodle easily absorbs the taste of its broth; therefore, its taste can be effortlessly improved by the broth. It can also be dry or pre-cooked. This noodle is subtle in taste because it includes only water, wheat flour and salt. It’s the broth that provides flavour and taste to these plain noodles. This broth can be either light or dark brown. It depends on the region in Japan. Light brown broths are common in Western regions while dark brown broths are common in Eastern regions.
Udon soup broths are known as kakejiru. It is a light broth and tasted with soy sauce, mirin and dashi. This can also be made from chicken to make chicken udon. There are various types of Udon such as,
- Tempura Udon – decorated with prawn tempura
- Curry tempura – curry powder is used to season the broth
- Stamina Udon – egg, meat and vegetables as toppings
- Zaru Udon – a chilled udon dish
- Kake Udon – special since most tourists start tasting udon dishes from this
What is the Difference Between Ramen and Udon?
The key difference between Ramen and Udon is that Ramen is always served hot, whereas Udon can be served hot or chilled. Moreover, there are many other differences between Ramen and Udon based on their preparation, size and shape.
The following infographic list the differences between Ramen and Udon in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Ramen vs Udon
Both Ramen and Udon are famous Japanese dishes. Ramen is a noodle that is yellow, and since it is thin, a heavy topping is used for it. This noodle is either curly or straight. It is made with eggs and also kansui. Udon is white, and it is a thick noodle that is usually straight. Because of this thickness, the whole meal takes a simple form. It is a dish that can be served either hot or cold. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between Ramen and Udon.