Nagasaki Champon is a vibrant noodle dish made with thick ramen noodles topped with pork, seafood and a variety of vegetables served in a rich and milky broth. It's comforting, nutritious and extremely easy to make!
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Nagasaki Champon (長崎ちゃんぽん)
Champon is a soupy and colourful noodle dish popular all across Japan. Ramen style noodles are served in a chicken or pork based broth and then topped with stir fried pork, seafood and vegetables.
As you can probably tell from the name, this dish is originally from Nagasaki prefecture located in South of Japan on the island of Kyushu. However, Nagasaki champon is believed to be inspired by a Chinese dish from Fujian Province called "tonniishiimen" (湯肉絲麵).
The History of Nagasaki Champon
The story goes, that champon was created by the owner of a Chinese restaurant called "Shikairou" in Nagasaki City during the mid-Meiji period (1868-1912). He invented champon to provide a cheap and nutritious meal for Chinese exchange students visiting Japan at that time.
The word "champon" means "mixture of various things" and it represents the champon dish having many different kinds of vegetables.
Many people don't realise that champon is actually an example of "chuka ryori" (中華料理) which are dishes born in Japan, but are actually inspired by Chinese cuisine.
Soup and noodles
The soup and noodles of Nagasaki champon are very distinctive too.
The soup is usually pale in colour and flavoured with pork or chicken broth. To skip the long simmering time of making broth from scratch, I used "garasupu" Chinese chicken stock in my recipe. (You can purchase it here on Amazon.)
As for the noodles, fresh ramen noodles are best because they cook in the shortest time. Usually the thicker variety are used (using cutting blade number 16) so just use the thickest ramen noodles you can find. I like to cook the noodles separately to avoid making the broth too thick.
Ingredients for Nagasaki champon
Using specific ingredients kind goes against the spirit of "mixing a variety of stuff", but as an example, Nagasaki champon served at Ringer Hut consists of:
- Pork belly
- Small shrimps
- Kamaboko (Japanese fish cakes)
- Wood ear (a type of mushroom)
I don't can't think of any other noodle dishes that contains this many toppings! Of course you can omit/replace some ingredients according to your preference.
I've mentioned the name "Ringer Hut" quite a few times, but what exactly is Ringer Hut?
Well, Ringer Hut is a popular Japanese fast food restaurant that specializes in Champon and another Chinese-inspired dish from Nagasaki called "Sara Udon" (crispy noodles with vegetables and seafood).
Ringer Hut was created by a company named "Hamakatsu Co." which was founded in Nagasaki prefecture in 1970. They opened their first Ringer Hut restaurant in 1977.
The name "Ringer" was taken from an English merchant who was very influential in Nagasaki in the 1890s. (He was actually from Norwich, UK which is where I lived and studied for 4 years!)
The popularity of Ringer Hut and their signature dishes spread across Japan and in June 1985, the 100th Ringer Hut restaurant opened. Not only that, but in October of that same year, the company got listed on the Fukuoka Stock Exchange (8200).
To this day, there are over 550 Ringer hut restaurants across Japan and Taiwan. Hamakatsu Co. also owns more than 100 tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurants too.
As for their operations abroad, there are restaurants in:
There also used to be restaurants in San Jose, New York and Hong Kong but they have since closed down.
Well, if you don't live near Ringer Hut there's no reason to fear. With my recipe, you can make delicious homemade Nagasaki Champon in your own kitchen!Print