Japanese ramen is said to have originated in Yokohama’s Chinatown during the Edo Era, evolving over generations into the unique dish as it is known today. Unlike traditional Japanese noodles such as soba or udon, there is no set style for ramen. Each shop that serves this tasty fare has its own distinctive flavor, which is left entirely up to the master. There are, however, certain types loosely categorized by type of soup, ingredients and even region, with some parts of the country boasting their own localized version of ramen.

Soup can be oily or lean, noodles thick or thin. The dish can be served topped with slices of chashu (roast pork) or piled high with vegetables. Noodles can be slurped from soup in a bowl, or dipped into soup on the side. Everyone who falls in love with what is undoubtedly one of Japan’s national foods eventually discovers his or her very own favorite.