A ramen shop is a restaurant that specializes in ramen dishes, the wheat-flour Japanese noodles in broth. In Japan, ramen shops are very common and popular, and are sometimes referred to as ramen-ya (ラーメン屋) restaurants. Some ramen shops operate in short order style, while others provide patrons with sit-down service. Over 10,000 ramen shops exist in Japan. In recent times, ramen shops have burgeoned in some cities in the United States, such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
A ramen shop typically specializes in ramen dishes, and may provide other foods such as gyōza. In Japan, ramen shops are sometimes referred to as ramen-ya restaurants. Some ramen shops prepare all of their foods in-house "from scratch", including the soups, broths and ramen noodles, while others use prepackaged prepared noodles and other prepared ingredients. As of 2016, over 10,000 ramen shops exist in Japan.
Ramen dishes are very popular in Japan and are a significant part of Japanese cuisine, and ramen shops are very common and popular throughout the country. In Japan, television shows devoted to ramen shops, their fare, finding the best shops, and local specialties are popular. In the 1990s in Japan, corporate restructuring led to increased employment layoffs and cuts, and during this time articles were published in various magazines about starting up a ramen shop as a means to generate income and become a self-employed entrepreneur in attempts to offset the job layoffs and cuts.
Japanese ramen-ya shops specialize in ramen dishes and exist throughout Japan. Many ramen-ya restaurants have limited seating, and some only have a bar with stools for patrons to eat at. At some ramen-ya establishments, patrons place their order and remit payment at a ticket machine located in front of the shop, and then wait in line for their food. When a seat becomes available, patrons give the server their ticket and then wait for their food. This system can serve to keep the line moving in an expedient manner. Other ramen-ya shops provide sit-down service whereby patrons are provided with a menu and order fare from a server.
The following is a list of notable ramen shops and restaurants.
- Ajisen Ramen – a Japanese restaurant chain of fast food restaurants selling Japanese ramen dishes, it has over 700 stores
- Ichiran is a Japanese restaurant chain that originated and is based in Fukuoka. The chain specifically specializes upon tonkotsu ramen.
- Ippudo – a Japanese ramen restaurant chain that is well known for its tonkotsu ramen, it has been described as "the most famous tonkotsu ramen shop in the country".
- Ivan Ramen – a ramen restaurant with two locations in New York City
- Jinya Ramen Bar – a restaurant chain based in Los Angeles, California
- Muteppou – a Japanese ramen noodle restaurant chain
- Ramen Street – an area in the underground mall of the Tokyo Station railway station's Yaesu side that has eight restaurants specializing in ramen dishes.
In popular culture
The Japanese film Tampopo involves a premise of the characters encountering difficulties in attempts to create the best noodle shop in Japan. The film Blade Runner has scenes where the main character is served ramen at an outdoor sit-down shop in futuristic Los Angeles.
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