Disclaimer: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. Sudachi earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. See disclaimer for more info.
What is Taiwan Ramen?
Many people might assume that Taiwan Ramen (台湾ラーメン) is a Taiwanese dish due to its name, and I was one of those people until quite recently. However, it is a fusion of Taiwanese and Nagoya cuisine, dating back to the 1970s.
The story of Taiwan Ramen began at a famous restaurant named Misen (味仙) in Nagoya. The restaurant’s founder started preparing meals for employees inspired by a Taiwanese dish called Ta-a noodles (danzai noodles).
Eventually, the dish became an extremely spicy noodle dish that was loved by many after a lot of modifications.
Thus, Taiwan Ramen is essentially a Taiwanese dish that has undergone significant modifications to suit the Japanese palate, resulting in a unique dish completely different from the original.
Interestingly, this dish is known as “Nagoya Ramen,” so the names are reversed in Taiwan.
How I Developed This Recipe
Whenever the conversation steers towards Nagoya cuisine, I can’t help but feel a surge of pride and nostalgia. Born and raised around the area, I’ve had the privilege of frequenting Misen all my life.
Even with spicy ramen, Taiwan ramen might edge out Tantanmen as my top pick. It’s a bold statement, I know, but such is the depth of my love for this dish.
In homage to Misen and the countless memories associated with it, I crafted this Taiwan Ramen recipe that’s both authentic and accessible. It’s a blend of tradition and innovation, capturing the essence of the original while making it easy to make at home.
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Broth Ingredients: To create that easy yet flavorful broth, I combined dried shiitake mushrooms, dried kelp, soy sauce, Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder, and oyster sauce. This blend ensures a deep and umami-packed base for the ramen.
- Sesame Oil: A drizzle of sesame oil can elevate any dish with its aromatic and nutty flavor. For the best results, I always reach for Kadoya’s sesame oil.
- Ground Pork: While you can experiment with chicken or beef, I’ve found that pork truly shines in Taiwan ramen. It adds a richness that’s hard to replicate with other meats.
- Potherb & Spice: To infuse the pork with layers of flavor, I use a trio of chili pepper, ginger, and garlic. These ingredients meld together, giving the dish its signature depth.
- Chili bean sauce (Toban Djan): This is the secret weapon for that irresistible kick in Taiwan ramen. It brings a delightful spiciness that’s both deep and flavorful. To substitute, you could use other chili pastes such as Indonesian sambal or Korean gochujang, but keep in mind that they will alter the final flavor of the overall dish.
- Ramen Noodles: Fresh ramen noodles are ideal, offering that perfect chewy texture. But don’t settle for instant ones if they’re out of reach. Instead, turn to spaghetti with a few tweaks. Curious about how to transform spaghetti into ramen? Dive into my Spaghetti Ramen Hack article.
- Garlic Chives: These aren’t just for garnish. Garlic chives bring a fresh, aromatic touch essential for that authentic Misen’s Taiwan ramen experience.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Taiwan Ramen at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
In my experience, a good broth starts with a solid base.
Pour water into a pot and add dried shiitake mushroom and dried kelp. Let it soak for about 30 minutes.
The longer you let it soak, the richer the flavor. So, if you have time, let it sit a bit longer.
Once the dashi has finished soaking, heat a frying pan on medium heat and drizzle in sesame oil. Once hot, add garlic and ginger and fry them until they release their aroma, which should take about a minute or so.
Now, introduce ground pork to the pan, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Fry until it’s beautifully browned.
Stir in chili bean sauce and dried red chili peppers to elevate the flavor.
Mix it, turn off the heat, and leave the pan covered on the stove to keep it warm.
Now, let’s return to the pot with the shiitake and kombu. Heat it and bring it to almost boiling.
Once small bubbles appear around the edge, remove the shiitake and kombu. Reduce the heat to a simmer and pour the soy sauce, Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder, and oyster sauce.
Give it a good mix and reduce it to the lowest heat so it can simmer gently while we cook our noodles.
In a separate pot, ramen noodles follow the instructions on the packaging.
Once the noodles are cooked, transfer them to serving bowls and submerge them in the delicious broth. Top the noodles with the spicy pork mince we prepared earlier and garnish with garlic chives for a refreshing touch.
Slurp and enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
Storing ramen can be a bit tricky, but if you have leftovers, it’s best to keep only the broth and not the noodles. You can store leftover broth from the pan in a container in the refrigerator or freezer and later reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
To enjoy the ramen, cook fresh noodles and add them to the reheated broth. If you refrigerate the broth, consume it within two days, and if you freeze it, consume it within two weeks.
Tantanmen is served with a thick sesame-flavored broth, whereas Taiwan Ramen has a thin soup made from a shoyu (soy sauce) and chicken broth base. I would say that Taiwan Ramen is a bit lighter and spicier, while Tantanmen is thick, rich, and filling. The noodles used in both dishes are ramen noodles, but the noodles in Taiwan Ramen are a bit thicker.
Both dishes are indeed delicious.
In Nagoya, there are some restaurants that have different names based on the level of spiciness they serve. The American (アメリカン) version of Taiwan Ramen is milder than the normal version, and its name is based on Americano coffee. The Italian (イタリアン) version, on the other hand, is hotter than usual, and it’s probably named after Espresso coffee. The African (アフリカン) version is even hotter than the Italian one, and some people believe it’s one of the spiciest ramen dishes in Japan. The Alien (エイリアン) version is the hottest in Misen, and it’s said that it’s so spicy that you could feel like you’re going to outer space after eating it. It’s important to note that regular Taiwan Ramen is already very hot, so these versions are not for the faint of heart.
I hope you enjoy this Taiwan Ramen recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Ramen Recipes
Taiwan Ramen (Spicy Nagoya Style Ramen)
- Noodle strainer
- 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
- 25 g garlic chive(s) to 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, and fry 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 off the heat 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 almost boiling, then remove the shiitake and kombu and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Add 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 ½ 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, following the instructions on the packaging.
- Once cooked, rinse with fresh boiling water to remove any excess starch and transfer the noodles to serving bowls. Pour an equal amount of broth into each bowl and top with the seasoned pork and garlic chives.