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30 Different Ramen Topping Ideas

Asian-inspired cuisine is favored by many. Ramen is a popular dish that was originally imported to Japan from China. It is essentially a Japanese noodle dish that is made using meat, stock, and vegetables.

There are now a few different variations of Ramen so you needn’t worry about it tasting repetitive. You can use different types of broth to create the base along with different style noodles.

Perhaps the greatest thing about Ramen is that you can put your own spin on it so that it caters to your preferences. 

The toppings that you add to your ramen are going to influence the taste, however, there’s a vast selection available from kakuni to cheese and lime. If desired, you can add a few different toppings to make this dish unique to you.

Most Popular Ramen Toppings

Below, we have identified over 30 of the greatest tasting toppings that you can add to your ramen. Continue reading to find out more. 

Niku Soboro

Niku Soboro refers to ground beef, chicken, or pork that is fried until it becomes dry. This is one of the easiest toppings that you can prepare at home.

Season the meat using soy sauce or sugar. Doing so is going to enhance the flavor and create a great-tasting ramen dish.


Chashu

Chashu refers to pork that has been braised or simmered and it is one of the most common ramen toppings. A few slices of this fatty meat are marinated and then added to the dish. Usually, miso, soy sauce, and salt are used to marinate the meat.

The cut of the pork is going to influence the taste. If you like fatty meat, you will likely enjoy pork belly. If you prefer a leaner, healthier cut of meat, pork loin is the best option for you.

If you enjoy a combination of fatty red meat, you should try pork shoulder. When cooked, the tenderness of the meat will complement the other ingredients in the dish. 

In some cultures, the consumption of pork is prohibited but there are a few other varieties of meat that can be used instead, they include beef, duck, and chicken. 


Kakuni

Kakuni is the name given to Japanese braised pork. It is an excellent topping for ramen and is typically slow-cooked until it is tender.

Before cooking, it is coated in sugar and soy sauce and onions are sprinkled on top. This combination of ingredients adds a rich taste to the dish. 

Some restaurants use chashu and kakuni interchangeably, however, there are noticeable differences in the flavor. 


Shiraganegi

This topping looks very similar to strands of white hair. These long green strands of onion are often used as a garnish or in a condiment.

It is worth noting that the way that you prepare and shred the shiraganegi will affect how it tastes. For the most flavor, you will need to make sure that you cut it vertically or at a right angle. 

Ajitama

Ajitama means seasoned egg and this is arguably another one of the most common ramen toppings. Usually, the egg is half boiled and marinated using different seasonings although it is usually cooked in soy sauce as this imparts a noticeable savory/sweet flavor.

Once cooked, the egg retains its firm white exterior and soft yolk. Raw eggs are often used as a topping for ramen instead of hard boiled or half boiled eggs. Also, some restaurants will use different varieties of eggs such as quail eggs.


Menma

Menma refers to a Japanese condiment that consists of bamboo shoots that have been Lacto-fermented. It is sometimes called ‘’shinachiku’’. Not only is menma a popular topping from Menma, but it is often a staple ingredient in soups too.

It has a crunchy texture and is packed full of flavor. Although the texture of menma is different from most of the other ingredients in ramen, it is a contrast that works well. 


Corn

Corn is one of the more peculiar ramen toppings. Although this may not be one of the most obvious choices, the sweetness of the corn is going to complement the rest of the dish.

Moreover, it also adds color to the dish and makes it look more vibrant. Often corn is paired with butter as this will add more depth to the ramen. Ideally, you should add corn as the noodles are cooking. 


Aonegi

Aonegi means green onion in Japanese. They have a mild flavor that is going to enhance the aromas of the dish, whilst adding a kick that isn’t too overpowering.

A ramen that is entitled Aonegi ramen simply refers to a dish that mainly consists of chopped green onions. 


Asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that can be white, green, or purple. It makes a perfect ramen topping and is especially common in healthy ramen recipes. It has a distinct, strong flavor that is going to be prominent in the dish. 


Bean Sprouts

Traditional ramen recipes often call for the use of bean sprouts, especially recipes for miso ramen. When cooked correctly, bean sprouts have a crunchy texture which contrasts well against the softness of the noodles.

They also have a pleasant sweet taste. The versatility of bean sprouts means that you can either cook them or they can be added raw. 

The only notable downside to adding bean sprouts to ramen concerns the moisture that they release once they are cooked. This can affect the consistency of the soup and may make it thinner than you would like.


Takana Zuke

Takana Zuke is a food item that is made from pickled mustard leaves. It has a mild but subtly spicy taste along with a crunchy texture and it is now becoming a popular addition to many Asian recipes.

It can be consumed hot or cold depending on your preference and it is also easy to prepare. 


Karashi Takana

Karashi Takana differs from Takana Zuke as it is a name given to spicy mustard leaves. It is considered to be an essential topping for tonkatsu ramen.

These leaves are pan-fried with child pepper and this is what gives them a kick of spiciness. 


Leek 

Leeks are another common ramen topping. As they belong to the same family as garlic, chives, and onion, leeks have a sweet and slightly oniony flavor and they are often used to add depth to recipes.

Again, leeks go particularly well with tonkatsu ramen. They are easy to prepare and cook as you simply need to cook them slightly before combining them with the noodles.  


Onion

Onions are frequently used as a topping for ramen. Although regular onions have a stronger taste than green onions they work well against the richness of the dish without being too intense and taking away from the other flavors in the dish. 


Cabbage

As we have identified, there are many vegetables that are popular additions to ramen recipes, cabbage being one of them. There are a few different types of cabbage and they can differ in flavor.

Raw cabbage is rather bitter but when combined with other ingredients in a recipe, it will go well with the contrasting flavors. Moreover, it also has a crispy texture that ties the dish together.  


Beni Shoga

This term is used to describe strips of red pickled ginger. This is a topping that is listed in the majority of ramen recipes.

The thin slices of this ginger are sprinkled over the noodles. As for flavor, beni shoga is like a mixture of pork bone broth and soy sauce. Although it tastes quite unique, it’s an excellent addition to a ramen dish. 

red pickled ginger Beni Shoga
Beni Shoga red pickled ginger

Spinach

Although raw spinach has a mild but noticeable sweet taste, when cooked it becomes much more robust. Eating spinach is believed to have several health benefits.

It contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and magnesium which help to support a healthy immune system. Secondly, spinach also has a taste that is going to add a refreshing touch to the ramen. 


Garlic

Garlic is a great topping for ramen as it adds a distinct kick that will intensify the overall flavor of the dish whilst adding a touch of spiciness. It can be purchased pre-crushed or you can buy cloves and easily mince them at home.

After allowing the noodles to cook for a couple of minutes, you can add some of the garlic and allow the ingredients to saute until the garlic is cooked. This is going to lock in the flavor of the dish and the other ingredients. 

Canola Plant

Canola plants have a few uses in cooking. Nanohana is a green vegetable that is closely related to the canola plant. There are certain seasons when the young shoots of this plant are used to top ramen. 

Fried Vegetables

Many vegetables go well with ramen so you can pick your favorites and cook them. Tasty options include carrots, mushrooms, broccoli florets, bean sprouts, and cabbage, but you can experiment with different types to see which ones you prefer in your dish. 

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds typically tend to be used as a topping for shio ramen. Toasted sesame seeds are particularly tasty, slightly exposing them to heat locks in the most flavor.

If you do not want to toast them yourself, you can buy them already toasted from the supermarket. Moreover, grinding sesame seeds makes them even more aromatic. 

Mitsuba

Mitsuba parsley is also known as Cryptotaenia japonica and it belongs to the same family as carrots.

Thanks to its bright green color it is going to make your ramen dish look more vibrant. It has a unique flavor that is quite similar to parsley, celery, and cilantro. 

Ground Daikon

Ground daikon is usually served as an accompaniment to grilled fish dishes, however, it is often used to enhance the flavor of noodle dishes.

It has a mild but tangy flavor that is going to be pleasant but noticeable when added to the dish.

Lime

Whilst lime may not be the most common ramen topping, it still works well. It pairs especially well with chili flakes, and white or black pepper and complements the taste of fish inspired ramen. 

Kikurage

Kikurage is a variety of edible mushroom that is a popular addition to Japanese noodle dishes such as ramen. Besides kikurage, it is also known as wood ear mushroom.

It has a rather chewy texture and although it may not have a specific flavor, it generally tends to be quite mild. When added to the ramen, it is going to absorb the flavor of the other ingredients. 

Nori

Nori is a type of edible seaweed that is commonly used in Japanese Cuisine. The flavor is strong and quite distinct and although it is usually used for sushi, it can be great in ramen. Not only does it create a visually appealing dish, but it also accentuates the taste. 

Shiitake Mushrooms

Native to Eastern Asia, Shiitake mushrooms tend to be added to recipes to enhance the flavor. When cooked, they have a rich, meaty flavor and a buttery texture. They go very well with ramen dishes that have a thicker consistency.

There are thought to be a few health benefits associated with eating shiitake mushrooms. They contain minerals that support healthy bones and immunity. As such, they are going to be a healthy addition to your ramen recipe. 

Kamaboko

This is a type of cured surimi otherwise known as processed seafood. This surimi is created through a process that involves steaming, deboning, and pureeing it.

It is normally served in thin slices and it has a texture that some would describe as being quite rubbery. Kamaboko is frequently used as a topping for ramen, soba, and udon. 

Shijimi Clams 

Shijimi clams are another ingredient that is often used in Japanese cooking. They are quite versatile and can be used as a base ingredient or topping in soups.

These clams have a rich taste that is going to work well with the other flavors in the ramen. 

Wonton

Wonton can be spelled in multiple ways. It is the name given to a type of Chinese dumpling, however, there are now Japanese varieties available.

Wonton dumplings are a particularly tasty topping when accompanied with a garnish of leafy vegetables. 

Butter

Butter can be added to ramen to add more depth and make it creamier. You don’t need a lot as you will find that a little goes a long way. It is especially tasty when added to miso or shio ramen. The taste of the butter is also going to make the ramen taste richer. 

Narutomaki

Narutomaki is a variety of kamaboko. It is a type of cured fish surimi that is shaped similar to a cloud.

Just like kamaboko, it is distinctly patterned and has a swirl pattern on its exterior. It is chewy with a mild flavor that isn’t overly fishy. This is another topping that is often used in ramen.

Rayu

Rayu is a hot and spicy condiment that is going to complement the taste of tantan-men and miso ramen.

Although it can be bought pre-made from the store, it is pretty easy to make from home. You will often find that ramen shops stock up on this sauce. 

Kimchi

Kimchi is a side dish that is a staple in Korean recipes. It consists of fermented and salted vegetables. These vegetables are then flavored to give them more flavored.

The most common vegetables used to create kimchi are radish and cabbage. When added to ramen it oozes a spicy kick which is a little more intense. 

Cheese

If you are a cheese lover you will be pleased to know that it makes an excellent ramen topping. You don’t need to add a lot of cheese as one slice is going to be more than sufficient.

As the cheese starts to melt it will develop a gooey consistency which will add creaminess to the dish. 

Yuzu Kosho

This is a type of Japanese seasoning that is essentially a fermented paste that is made from yuzu peel, chili peppers, and salt. It has a slightly bitter but fresh flavor that is quite similar to citrus.

There is also an aftertaste of spiciness. When mixed with soy sauce, it creates a deliciously rich dipping sauce, however, it can also be used in soups, tempura, and sashimi. The taste of yuzu kosho compliments the taste of shoyu or shio ramen dishes in particular.

You will not need to add a lot to your ramen, in fact, a tablespoon is likely to be enough. Once mixed in, it will give it a kick without being too intense. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, over 30 delicious ramen toppings. It is likely that there are many you are familiar with and others that you may only now be discovering if you are making ramen for the first time.

The topping that you choose is going to depend on the taste that you want to create. Whilst some will add an intense kick, the flavor of some other toppings is going to be much more subtle. 

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a Philadelphia local who enjoys checking out Philly's restaurant scene every chance he can. He grew up in South Jersey and now lives in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.