Ramen is a popular and delicious dish that originated in Japan but has become a favorite among food lovers. Ramen has become popular all over the world for its rich, savory broth, noodle goodness, and creative toppings.
The flavors and textures of each component in a bowl of ramen blend perfectly to create a satisfying meal experience.
However, serving a side dish alongside your ramen enhances the meal even further. So, what to serve with ramen?
Finding the right complementary flavors to balance the saltiness and umami of the ramen broth can elevate your dining experience.
Whether you’re a ramen connoisseur or a newcomer, you’ll find that adding a tasty side dish to your ramen meal enhances the flavors, textures, and overall experience.
As a pro chef and experienced cook, I have compiled a list of the 21 best side dishes to serve with ramen. Get your chopsticks ready, and let’s dive in!
What is ramen? What does ramen taste like?
Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish made from wheat-based noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often enriched with soy sauce or miso and topped with various vegetables and meats.
The taste of ramen varies depending on the type of noodles and toppings used, but it typically has a savory broth that is slightly salty with notes of umami flavor.
The texture of the noodles should be chewy and firm to give you an enjoyable bite.
Generally speaking, ramen should have a delicious combination of salty, savory flavors along with subtle hints of sweetness for an overall tasty experience.
Best Sides to serve with ramen
Edamame is a simple dish of steamed and salted soybeans and is a perfect complement to ramen.
Not only does it add a pop of color to your meal, but the nutty and salty flavors pair well with the broth of the ramen.
Pan-fried dumplings containing a flavorful mix of meat and vegetables are a perfect snack to serve alongside your hearty bowl of ramen.
Kimchi is excellent to serve with ramen. This Korean side dish of spicy fermented cabbage is an excellent choice for those who prefer a spicy kick in their meals.
The sour and spicy flavors nicely balance the richness of the ramen broth.
4. Pickled Vegetables
Crunchy and tangy, pickled vegetables like cucumbers and carrots are a great addition to any ramen meal.
The acidity of the pickling liquid cuts through the richness of the broth and cleanses the palate.
Deep-fried and crunchy battered vegetables or shrimp served alongside ramen add a perfect crispy texture and a mild sweetness to the dish.
Discover More: Delicious Sides to Serve with Tempura Shrimp
6. Sautéed Greens
Simple sautéed greens like spinach, bok choy or kale are a great way to add a touch of freshness and greenery to your ramen. They also add some necessary nutritional value to the meal!
7. Soft-Boiled Eggs
Soft-boiled eggs add a creamy texture and mild flavor that pairs perfectly with the ramen broth. You can also add a marinated or flavored soft-boiled egg to further elevate the dish.
8. Fried Rice
To make your ramen meal more substantial, serve it with a side of fried rice.
The rice will mop up the flavors of the ramen broth and create a great complementary side dish.
Whether it’s fried, grilled or served cold, a tofu dish is an excellent protein-rich side dish to serve with ramen. Try serving it up as a cold tofu salad or grilled tofu skewers.
10. Seaweed Salad
As an ingredient often found in traditional ramen, seaweed salad provides a naturally herbaceous flavor and a unique texture to your meal.
It is also packed with nutrients and complements the saltiness of the broth.
Find Out More: Best Salad Goes Well With Sea Bass with Salad Dressings
Yakitori is a Japanese chicken skewer grilled over charcoal and brushed with a sweet and savory sauce, creating a perfect flavor complement to your ramen.
12. Radish Salad
Thinly sliced radishes with vinegar-based dressing add a crisp and refreshing note to your ramen meal. It is a great way to add some extra crunch and texture to your bowl.
13. Steamed Vegetables
Broccoli, carrots, and snow peas are perfect side dishes to serve with ramen, adding a healthy twist with some much-needed vegetables.
Steaming them ensures that they retain their crunchy texture while blending with the flavors of the broth.
14. Fried Chicken
Crispy fried chicken makes a hearty and classic side dish for ramen. It’s crunchy texture and savory flavor complement the richness and spiciness of the broth.
15. Miso Soup
Miso Soup is a Japanese soup made with miso paste, and dashi stock makes a great complement to ramen. Its flavors blend well with the dish and cleanse the palate between bites.
Soft and fluffy octopus balls bring a chewy texture and a deep-fried flavor to your ramen meal. Top them with mayo, bonito flakes, and green onions for extra appetizing bites.
An omelet-like dish that is made by rolling layers of seasoned eggs into a cylinder. It’s sweet and custardy and pairs well with the broth and noodles.
Similar to gyoza, shumai is a type of Chinese dumpling that is steamed and filled with pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms.
Their soft and juicy texture is a comforting complement to ramen’s warmth.
Cooked or grilled, corn is a simple but satisfying side dish that provides a hint of sweetness and a crunchy texture to your ramen. You can sprinkle some furikake or butter on top for extra richness.
Learn More: Best Side Dishes to Serve with Corn on the Cob
A fresh and nutritious side dish that balances out the heavy and carb-heavy ramen.
Whether it’s a simple green salad or a more elaborate one with toppings like avocado, cherry tomatoes, and sesame dressing, it’s always a good choice to include some veggies in your meal.
21. Sweet Potatoes
A healthier substitute to French fries or potato chips, roasted sweet potatoes brings a natural sweetness and a crispy texture to your ramen meal.
They are full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that will make you feel good about your choices.
best ramen toppings at home
Ramen is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. There are an endless number of possible toppings that can be added to customize your bowl of ramen.
Here are 10 of the best ramen toppings to make the perfect bowl of noodles at home:
1. Soft Boiled Eggs
A soft-boiled egg adds a creamy, rich texture to any ramen dish. It also helps to enhance the flavor of the broth and adds protein for a heartier meal.
2. Char Siu Pork
Char siu pork, also known as Chinese barbeque pork, is a traditional topping for ramen dishes. The roasted pork is sliced into thin strips and adds flavor, texture, and heartiness to each bite.
Scallions bring both color and flavor to ramen dishes. They add a delicate onion-like flavor that pairs well with savory noodles and broth.
Whether you prefer shiitake or enoki mushrooms, they are sure to add umami flavor and extra nutrition to any ramen dish.
If you looking for some spice, kimchi is an excellent addition to ramen bowls.
The fermented cabbage provides heat as well as a tangy flavor that contrasts nicely with the savory broth and noodles.
Sweet corn kernels add a nice crunchy pop of texture along with additional sweetness to balance out flavors in the soup base or broth used in your ramen bowl.
Adding spinach gives your bowl more color while providing nutrition like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron and calcium, along with its unique taste that compliments other ingredients in your soup base or broth perfectly!
Nori, or dried seaweed sheets, adds even more umami flavor while adding interesting textures throughout each bite of your noodle bowl at home!
9. Sesame Seeds
Sprinkling sesame seeds over your bowl brings nuttiness as well as an added crunchy texture that will take it up another level!
10. Fish Cake
Fish cake slices are often found atop store-bought instant ramen packets, but they are just as great when making it from scratch at home too!
These little fish cakes help balance out flavors while adding enjoyable chewy bites throughout your bowl of noodles!
Find Out More: Perfect Side Dishes for German Potato Noodles
Vegetables that go with ramen
1. Bok choy
Bok choy, also popular as Chinese cabbage, is a great addition to ramen due to its crunchy texture and mild taste.
It provides an additional layer of flavor and nutrition that pairs nicely with the savory broth.
2. Enoki mushrooms
Long, thin enoki mushrooms are perfect for ramen because they don’t overpower the dish but still add an earthy flavor.
Their own unique texture complements the other ingredients in the bowl.
3. Bean sprouts
Another popular ramen topping is bean sprouts, which can be added either raw or cooked into the soup.
They add a subtle nutty taste and crunchy texture, which is sure to please anyone who eats it!
Spinach is packed with nutrients and vitamins that make it a healthy addition to any meal, and when added to ramen, it gives the dish a fresh green color that contrasts nicely with its light brown broth.
Corn adds a sweet flavor and pops of color to ramen that can brighten up any bowl in seconds! Its slightly chewy texture brings out flavors in other ingredients like pork or chicken too!
Carrots add sweetness to ramen, making them a go-to ingredient for those who want more than just plain noodles and broth.
Grated carrots work well as toppings, while sliced carrots cook quickly into the soup itself!
7. Japanese eggplant
Eggplant may seem like an odd choice for ramen, but when cut into small cubes, it adds an interesting texture that works perfectly with all of the other ingredients within the dish!
easy things to add to ramen
Some easy things to add to ramen are mushrooms, soft-boiled eggs, seaweed, and corn.
Mushrooms bring a savory flavor and texture to the dish, while soft-boiled eggs provide a creamy contrast that complements the other ingredients.
Seaweed adds subtle umami notes and provides a chewy texture to the ramen.
Lastly, adding sweet corn is a great way to create balance and round out the flavors of the ramen.
All of these ingredients are easy to find at local grocery stores and can be quickly added in when preparing ramen.
What are the best flavors to go with ramen?
Ramen is a classic dish that is loved by so many people around the world. It can be served in various styles and with different flavors to make each bowl unique.
Some of the most popular flavors to go with ramen are miso, shoyu (soy sauce), tonkatsu (pork bone broth), and shio (salt).
Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds a richly savory flavor to ramen. It has umami notes, which combine with the saltiness of the ramen broth to create a perfectly balanced taste.
Shoyu is another great option for adding flavor to ramen. The combination of salty and sweet creates a robust flavor profile that pairs well with all kinds of toppings.
Tonkotsu is a flavorful pork bone broth that adds depth and complexity to ramen dishes. It has an intensely rich aroma and taste that really stands out among other types of broths.
Lastly, she is simply made from salt and water but provides an intense hint of ocean-like brininess to your bowl of noodles.
When it comes to choosing the best flavors for your bowl of ramen, it all comes down to personal preference.
However, these four flavors are some of the most popular options when it comes to creating delicious bowls of ramen – miso, shoyu, tonkotsu, and shio. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing bowl every time!
How do you jazz up ramen?
There are many ways to jazz up a bowl of ramen. Try adding some sautéed mushrooms or carrots for added texture and flavor.
You can also add some chili oil or Sriracha sauce for an extra kick and top it off with freshly sliced scallions or sesame seeds.
Other great toppings include boiled eggs, crushed peanuts, nori seaweed, pickled ginger, and crispy onions.
For a heartier meal, you can also add diced cooked chicken or beef to the broth. Enjoy!
How do you display ramen on a platter?
Ramen can be displayed in a bowl or platter in a variety of ways. To start, the noodles should be placed in the center of the bowl or platter.
Next, any toppings such as vegetables, eggs, fish cakes, nori (dried seaweed) and other proteins should be arranged around the noodles.
Other garnishes, such as sesame seeds, scallions, and pickled ginger, can also be added to bring out different flavors and textures.
Finally, pour the broth on top and serve. When served on a platter rather than a bowl, ramen can look especially beautiful with all its colorful ingredients.
Adding various garnishes will make it even more visually appealing.
Wrap Up on What to Serve with Ramen
In conclusion, serving a complementary side dish with ramen can enhance the flavors and textures of your meal.
The 21 best side dishes we’ve listed in this blog post all have unique qualities that can balance and complement the flavors of ramen broth.
Whether you prefer something refreshing, spicy or crunchy, we have got a side dish for you.
So, let’s dig in and try all or one at a time, along with your ramen, to elevate your dining experience.
How much ramen per person?
Ramen is an incredibly versatile dish, so the amount of ramen per person can vary greatly depending on personal preference.
On average, one person might be able to comfortably consume one package of instant ramen, which is typically about two servings.
For restaurant-style ramen, however, portions are usually much larger, and it’s not uncommon for an individual to eat an entire bowl in a single sitting.
Those wanting to enjoy the full flavor of their ramen should consider ordering sides such as gyoza or karaage to accompany their meal and round out the experience.
What goes good with ramen noodles chicken
Chicken is an incredibly versatile ingredient that pairs perfectly with ramen noodles.
For a simple yet delicious option, you can opt to add cooked chicken breasts or thighs to your soup. The savory flavors of the meat, combined with the rich umami of the soup, create a tantalizing bowl of comfort food.
You can also use chicken wings or drumsticks for a more finger-food-style meal. Simply cook them until they’re golden and crispy, and then add them to your steaming bowl of noodles at the end.
If you want something a bit heartier, try creating a stir-fry to serve on top of your ramen noodles.
Start by marinating chicken in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger – this will give it an intense burst of flavor that pairs beautifully with the broth.
Then simply stir-fry it up with mushrooms and your favorite vegetables before serving over the noodles for a truly satisfying meal.
What drink goes well with ramen?
Ramen is an incredibly delicious and versatile dish, and there are a variety of drinks that can be enjoyed with it.
One of the most classic pairings is sake, a Japanese rice wine that is light and slightly sweet, which pairs well with the salty flavors of ramen.
Other popular options include green tea, oolong tea, black tea, or even beer. Green tea, in particular, has a lightly bitter taste that complements the savory flavor of ramen.
Oolong tea also offers a unique flavor profile that can complement the richness of ramen noodles. Lastly, beer goes especially well with spicy ramen dishes as its malty sweetness helps to balance out the heat.
What to serve with ramen salad?
Ramen salad is the perfect plate to accompany a variety of sides.
For a light meal, consider adding a side of edamame, steamed or grilled vegetables, or an Asian-inspired slaw.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, tofu, shrimp, and pork dumplings are all excellent choices.
For a flavorful garnish, top your Ramen salad with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or pickled ginger.
Adding a drizzle of sriracha or spicy mayo will add some heat to your dish!