"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!