What is most popular Japanese food in the world? OK, answer to this question is arguably sushi. Yes, Sushi is surely one of most popular foods in Japan. It is no strange that people who have never lived in Japan think Japanese people must eat sushi every day. Well, actually not. Japanese normally eat sushi at most once or twice in a month. Why is that? It's simply because sushi is expensive as a general. It costs at least 3,000 yen (20 pounds/15 us dollars) for one person and this assumes a case when you go to not-so-good sushi restaurant. If you look at high-end sushi restaurant, its price will be rocketed to sky-high (over 300 pounds). Here's a good contrast where Japanese eat ramen (picture above) and sushi (picture bottom) respectively. You can easily understand how each food is perceived in Japan.
Ramen, you must have heard of this Japanese noodles if you're either enthusiastic about Japanese food or a Londoner keen on current hot trends. I as a Japanese would say this is truly Japanese soul food and most popular food in Japan. According to recent statistics, there are about 35,000 ramen restaurants in Japan today. This number excludes Chinese restaurants in Japan where serve ramen as well normally so Japan has 35,000 restaurants literally serve only ramen! Population of Japan is 120 million, so Japan has one ramen restaurant per every 3,400 people. For that reason, competition in ramen industry in Japan is enormously severe.
Locality of ramen is also a point to mention. There're countless different kinds of ramen in Japan, but basically can be categolised by its taste of soup. You should remember these 4 kinds which are Soy sauce (醤油) Miso (味噌) Salt (塩) and Tonkotsu(豚骨). And interestingly enough, each ramen is more famous than others in specific area. Normally, miso and salt ramen is famous and popular in Hokkaido, northern island of Japan. Soy sauce ramen is common throughout Japan, but tends to more popular in eastern part of Japan. Especially, Fukushima (where became famous for nuclear power plan accident in 2011) is famous for its soy sauce ramen. Also, soy sauce ramen tends to be loved by people in Tokyo. In contrast, tonkotsu ramen (for those who don't know what tonkotsu means, this stands for port bone broth) is originally from Kyushu southern island of Japan and now widely accepted in whole Japan. Still today, if you just say ramen in Kyushu, that means (implicitly) tonkotsu ramen rather than soy sauce, miso or salt.
Soy sauce ramen
Again why ramen is more popular than sushi? Another reason is that its variety is less than ramen. And more importantly, one bowl of ramen in Japan starts from merely 500 Japanese yen (3.5 pounds /2.7 us dollars). You can choose a bit luxurious ramen. (although ramen never be considered as luxurious food in Japan!) still 1,000 yen (7 pounds/ 5.4 us dollars) is more or less enough for one meal. Ramen is definitely something you can afford to go to eat every day!
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