"Taiwan Ramen" is a delicious, spicy noodle dish made with chewy noodles, seasoned pork and spring onions in a broth that truly packs a punch! Despite the name, it was actually created in Nagoya, Japan (my region!) and it's extremely spicy!
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What is Taiwan ramen?
A lot of people might think it's a Taiwanese dish because of the name, don't worry, I did until very recently as well to be honest with you. But Taiwan Ramen is not quite a Taiwanese dish, it is more of a fusion of Taiwanese/Nagoya dish. The reason goes all the way back to the 1970's.
A brief history of Taiwan ramen
The history of Taiwan ramen started in a well known restaurant called Misen (味仙) in Nagoya. It all started when the founder of the restaurant started making meals for employees based on Taiwanese dish called Ta-a noodles (also known as danzai noodles).
The Taiwanese owner kept experimenting with the dish to his own taste, to Nagoya people's taste and serving it to the employees. It ended up becoming a extremely spicy noodle dish that people came to love.
So it's basically a Taiwanese dish that has been heavily modified to suit the taste of Japanese people and as a result, became something very different to the original.
The most interesting thing is, this dish is apparently called "Nagoya Ramen" in Taiwan so the names are completely reversed.
In Nagoya, some restaurants have different names depending on the spice levels.
- American (アメリカン): Milder than normal Taiwan Ramen in spice, the name is based on Americano Coffee
- Italian (イタリアン): Hotter than normal, the name is probably based on Espresso Coffee
- African (アフリカン): Hotter than Italian level, some people say it's one of the hottest ramen you can find in Japan
- Alien (エイリアン): The hottest in Misen, some say you could go to outer space by eating it...
You gotta remember, regular Taiwan Ramen is already very hot...
How is it different from "Tantanmen Ramen"?
If you've been following our recipes, you probably noticed that we posted another spicy ramen dish called "tantanmen" not long ago. You might be also wondering how are they different? Well actually they're completely different dishes!
Tantanmen is served in a thick sesame flavoured broth, whereas Taiwan ramen has quite a thin soup that is made from a shoyu (soy sauce) and chicken broth base. I'd say Taiwan ramen is a bit lighter and spicier, while tantanmen is thick, rich and filling. The noodles are also a little different, both use ramen noodles but the noodles in Taiwan ramen are a bit thicker.
They're both very delicious. If you're interested in our Tantanmen recipe, check it out here.
I hope you enjoy this Nagoya style, spicy Taiwan ramen!
Spicy Nagoya Style Taiwan Ramen
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 100 g ground pork
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp fresh ginger - grated
- 4 dried red chili pepper - roughly chopped
- ½ tbsp chili bean sauce - tobanjan
- 2 portions ramen noodles
- 50 g garlic chive(s) - for garnish
- Add 600 ml water to a pot with 1 dried shiitake mushroom(s) and 5 g dried kelp(s). Leave to soak for about 30 minutes. (You can leave longer for more flavour if you have time)
Frying the Pork
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 tsp sesame oil.
- Add 2 cloves garlic and 1 tsp fresh ginger to the pan. Fry for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add 100 g ground pork to the pan with 1 pinch salt and pepper and fry until browned.
- Once browned, add ½ tbsp chili bean sauce (tobanjan) and 4 dried red chili pepper.
- Mix well, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and put a lid on top to keep it warm for when its time to dish up.
Making the broth
- Heat up the pot of water with the dried shiitake and kombu.
- Bring it to a boil and remove the shiitake and kombu, turn down to simmer.
- Add 1½ tbsp soy sauce, 1½ tbsp Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder and 1 tsp oyster sauce.
- Mix well and simmer on the lowest setting until the noodles are done.
- Boil 2 portions ramen noodles in a separate pot, follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Once cooked, transfer the noodles to two large bowls.
- Add the cooked pork mince to the top and pour the broth over the noodles.
- Garnish with 50 g garlic chive(s).