When people think of ramen, they think of 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 chukka, 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.
This ramen actually features two cooked eggs: one semi-hard-boiled, and the other omelet-style, very thin, then sliced up along with the rest of the ingredients. Egg 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. And, of course, like everything else in Japan, the presentation must be orderly.
Cook and cool the noodles. Drain well; divide into 4 bowls.
Toss together onions and bacon; set aside. Arrange ham, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, and omelet in neat piles over each bowl. Top with onion and bacon mix.
Add egg, and spread karashi on the dish’s rim. Pour vinaigrette over everything.