A good bowl of ramen is a marriage of four things: broth, tare (seasoning), noodles and toppings.

In Melbourne, we’re best acquainted with the luscious tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and the lighter chicken version, which are generally boiled for half a day or more with kelp and/or bonito flakes to impart a deep umami character.

Classic seasonings such as shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) and the pungent miso (fermented soybeans) add another layer of complexity to the soup. Tare recipes are often a ramen chef’s most precious secret.

As with pasta in Italy, there are potentially hundreds of types of noodles. One constant? They should be served firm and slightly under-done, as they'll continue cooking in the bowl. In Japan, no-one waits for their friend’s ramen to arrive. It’s most polite to dig in the second your bowl hits the table – with plenty of appreciative slurping – to prevent the noodles from turning to mush.

Toppings might be barbequed pork, a soft-boiled egg, bean sprouts, black fungus, nori (seaweed), naruto fishcakes, spring onions, corn or even butter.

Now you know what to order, here’s where to find Melbourne’s best ramen.

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Shop Ramen Preston

Take a low stool and slurp up Tokyo-style ramen loaded with handmade wheat noodles and untraditional toppings.

143 Plenty Road, Preston

Hakata Gensuke Carlton

Looking to avoid the lines at the original, which set the gold standard for Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen in Melbourne? Head to Carlton.

Ippudo

A world-famous ramen joint serving the Hakata-style noodle-soup dish from Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture.

Shop 18 Artemis Lane, QV Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Shujinko

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

225 Russell Street, Melbourne

Ramen Ya

A tonkotsu (pork broth) specialist, though it also cooks a mean vegetarian version.

Shop 10, Emporium Melbourne 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Shop Ramen Fitzroy

For Tokyo-style tonkotsu with non-traditional ingredients such as leek and king oyster mushrooms.

329 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Yoku Ono Ramen + Sake

The chalet-like interior is almost as warming as the chicken-base ramen.

6A Anchor Place, Prahran
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Shyun Ramen Bar

Watch the magic happen in the open kitchen.

73 Koornang Road, Carnegie

Little Ramen Bar

A buzzy hole-in-the-wall with a dozen ramens to try.

5 346 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Fukuryu Ramen

Forget that Fukuryu is a multinational chain – its traditional and modern ramens are the real deal.

Level 1 22-26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne

Hakata Gensuke Hawthorn

Four locations to get your tonkotsu fix, including Bourke Street, Lonsdale Street and Doncaster.

Tenancy 4 860/862 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Wabi Sabi Salon

Keeps it simple with either soy- or miso-based soup.

94 Smith Street, Collingwood

Neko Neko

Vegan ramen? It's real and you can get it here.

83 Smith Street, Fitzroy
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