With tonkotsu, miso, and shoyu ramen enjoyed across almost every corner of the globe, it’s amazing how fast ramen has fast grown into one of Japan’s leading international dishes.
We spoke with a Japanese ramen master to see how the world of ramen changed in 2021 and its predicted course for 2022.
Read on to discover what bowls you’ll be seeing in the near future!

We Spoke With Ramen Critic Hiroshi Osaki

“I’ve loved ramen ever since I was a child. In fact, I’d honestly call it my staple meal – even more so than rice!” said Osaki. Being a renowned, professional ramen critic who eats around 720 bowls a year, we couldn’t think of a better person to ask for the low down on ramen trends.

Profile: Hiroshi Osaki
Ramen critic and chairman of Ramen Data Bank Co., Ltd., Osaki is also one of the founders of the Nippon Ramen Association as well as the executive chairman of the Tokyo Ramen Show. In 1959, he was born in Japan’s region of ramen, Fukushima Prefecture’s Aizu City. After working at an advertising agency, he founded Ramen Data Bank Co., Ltd. in 2005.
He is self-proclaimed as the number-one ramen eater in Japan (as of December 2021, he’s been to 13,500 ramen shops and has eaten around 27,000 bowls of ramen). Osaki has also been featured in several magazines and television programs. He’s also published books such as Muteki no Ramen Ron (The Irrefutable Ramen Theory, Kodansha's New Library of Knowledge) and Nihon Ramen Hishi (The Secret History of Ramen, published by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.).

The Current State of Ramen: What Happened in 2021?

Photo: PIXTA

Q. How was 2021 for the world of ramen?
“2021, the second year of COVID-19, was a time of great change for the entire restaurant industry. Numerous establishments started up delivery, and online services and innovation increased across the board.
“In particular, many izakaya which couldn’t open at night started offering 'daytime ramen' instead, while ramen outlets overall appeared to multiply.
“Even places that didn’t specialize in ramen, like traditional Japanese restaurants or French restaurants, began to release their own unique take on ramen. Before COVID-19, these sorts of trends were somewhat noticeable, but after opening hours were shortened, many more began serving ramen as a way to stay afloat.
“Furthermore, as it was impossible to compete with established ramen classics, many of these newcomers began releasing never-before-seen flavors to ensure success. From duck ramen to tomato ramen, there was an astounding amount of innovation in 2021!
“Within this, one pa…

See More >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *