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When people think of ramen, they imagine a steaming bowl of soup. But in the warmer months of the year, noodle shops all over Japan feature this delicious cold, brothless version known as hiyashi chuka, or ramen salad—which, like the soup, usually comes topped with an egg.
“You’ll find the runny ‘hard-boiled’ egg at all ramen shops in Japan,” explains Ivan Orkin, an American who moved to Japan in the ’90s and somehow managed to open one of the country’s most revered ramen restaurants. Today he runs ramen mecca Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in New York City.
Summer ramen actually features two cooked eggs: one semi-hard-boiled, and the other omelet-style, which is very thin and sliced up along with the rest of the ingredients. Egg yolk is the perfect creamy counterpart to the tangy, soy-based dressing, says Orkin: “When the yolk breaks over the noodles, it adds a whole other sauce.”
But what really makes any ramen unique—whether it’s a soup or a summer salad—is the noodles. Unlike buckwheat, or soba, noodles, those found in ramen are springier.