EngDiary 0013 - Waiting in line at a ramen shop

  1. Chats
  2. Questions
  3. Novel
  4. Practice


A serene watercolor painting depicting a group of diverse individuals, each with their own unique style and character, patiently lining up outside a quaint, traditional ramen shop nestled in a bustling urban street. The shop, with its warm and inviting glow, stands out against the cooler tones of the early evening sky. Soft brushstrokes capture the gentle movement of the queue and the subtle textures of the urban environment, conveying a sense of anticipation and communal spirit amongst those waiting


Alice: Good afternoon! Thank you for waiting. I’m Alice, and I’ll be assisting you today. While you’re waiting, may I introduce you to some of our special dishes and inquire about your meal preferences?

Webber: Good afternoon, Alice! Yes, that sounds great. I’m interested in trying something special. What do you recommend?

Alice: I’m glad to hear that! Our chef’s special today is the Spicy Miso Ramen, which is quite popular among our guests for its rich and aromatic flavor. We can also adjust the spice level according to your taste. Would you like to try it?

Webber: That sounds delicious, but I’m not very good with spicy food. Can it be made with a mild level of spice?

Alice: Of course! We can definitely customize the spice level to make it mild for you. Besides, would you like to add any specific toppings? We have bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and extra slices of pork belly, to name a few.

Webber: I’d like to add mushrooms and extra pork belly, please. Also, is it possible to have less sodium in the broth?

Alice: Absolutely, we can prepare your ramen with less sodium. So, to confirm, you’d like the Spicy Miso Ramen with mild spice, mushrooms, extra pork belly, and a low-sodium broth. Is that correct?

Webber: Yes, that’s perfect. Thank you, Alice.

Alice: You’re welcome! It’s our pleasure to ensure you enjoy your meal just the way you like it. We’ll prepare your order as soon as you’re seated. Is there anything else I can assist you with for now?

Webber: No, that’s all for now. Thank you for the excellent service, Alice.

Alice: You’re very welcome! We look forward to serving you soon. Please feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or needs.

Webber: Alice, I’m curious about the traditional way to order and enjoy ramen in Japan. Could you explain a bit about that?

Alice: Certainly, Webber! In Japan, many ramen shops use a ticket machine where customers select and pay for their meal before sitting down. It streamlines the process and helps the kitchen prepare orders efficiently. As for dining etiquette, it’s common to start eating the ramen while it’s hot, and slurping is actually considered polite—it shows you’re enjoying the meal.

Webber: That’s interesting! And what about the different types of ramen? I’ve heard there are several.

Alice: That’s right. The most common types include Shoyu (soy sauce-based), Shio (salt-based), Miso (fermented soybean paste-based), and Tonkotsu (pork bone broth-based). Each type has a distinct flavor profile and is usually paired with specific toppings to enhance the taste.

Webber: I see. Do you have a personal favorite, Alice?

Alice: I’m particularly fond of Tonkotsu ramen because of its rich and creamy broth. It pairs wonderfully with a side of Gyoza (dumplings) and a refreshing Asahi beer or green tea for a balanced meal.

Webber: That sounds like a delightful combination. Could you recommend a ramen for someone who prefers lighter flavors?

Alice: For lighter preferences, Shio ramen would be an excellent choice. It’s subtle and allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine. A side of lightly pickled vegetables can complement its delicate taste, and a cup of cold barley tea makes a refreshing accompaniment.

Webber: Thank you for the recommendations, Alice. I feel much more informed about my choices now.

Alice: You’re welcome, Webber! I’m glad I could help. Feel free to ask if you have any more questions. We aim to make your dining experience as enjoyable and authentic as possible.

Webber: Alice, look at this! It says I can have another bowl for free. Is this for real?

Alice: Congratulations, Webber! Yes, it’s absolutely real. You’ve found one of our special surprise messages. It’s our little way of saying thank you to our lucky customers. Let me bring you another bowl. And since you’re one of today’s fortunate guests, I’d also like to offer you a dish from our hidden menu. Have you ever tried our Special Truffle Ramen?

Webber: No, I haven’t. That sounds intriguing. What’s in it?

Alice: Our Special Truffle Ramen is a luxurious twist on traditional ramen. We use a Tonkotsu base enhanced with a rich truffle oil, topped with premium slices of pork, a soft-boiled egg, and fresh green onions. The truffle adds a unique, earthy depth to the broth that pairs wonderfully with the creamy pork bone broth. It’s a favorite among our regulars who know about our hidden menu.

Webber: That sounds absolutely delicious. I would love to try it!

Alice: Excellent choice! I’ll prepare your free bowl of ramen and the Special Truffle Ramen for you. While you wait, may I bring you something to drink? Perhaps a Sake that pairs well with the truffle’s richness?

Webber: Yes, please. That would be great.

Alice: Wonderful. I’ll be right back with your drinks and your meals. If you have any questions about the dish or anything else, feel free to ask. We’re here to ensure you have an exceptional dining experience.

Webber: Thank you, Alice. I’m really looking forward to it. This is turning out to be an unforgettable meal.

Alice: You’re very welcome, Webber! We strive to make every meal memorable for our guests. Enjoy your dining experience with us.


Menu Options

  • “What types of ramen do you offer?”
  • “Can you explain the difference between your Shoyu and Miso ramen?”

Ingredients and Dietary Concerns

  • “What ingredients are used in your broth?”
  • “Do you have any vegetarian or vegan ramen options?”

Preparation and Customization

  • “Can I customize the spice level of my ramen?”
  • “Is it possible to get extra noodles with my order?”

Specials and Recommendations

  • “Do you have any seasonal specials?”
  • “What’s the most popular ramen among regular customers?”

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

  • “Does this dish contain any nuts, dairy, or shellfish?”
  • “Can I get the ramen without any garlic?”

Portion Sizes and Pricing

  • “How big are the servings? Are they enough for one person?”
  • “What’s the price range for a bowl of ramen?”

Drink Pairings

  • “What drinks do you recommend to pair with my ramen?”
  • “Do you have any sake or Japanese beers?”

Cultural or Etiquette Questions

  • “Is it acceptable to slurp my noodles?”
  • “How do I properly use chopsticks to eat ramen?”

Payment and Tipping

  • “Can I pay with a credit card?”
  • “Is tipping customary in your ramen shop?”

Takeout and Reservations

  • “Do you offer takeout or delivery services?”
  • “Is it necessary to make a reservation on weekends?”


The Ramen Connoisseur

In the heart of a bustling city stood a quaint, unassuming ramen shop, known only to those who truly appreciated the art of ramen. Emily, a curious traveler with a penchant for culinary adventures, had heard whispers of this place among locals and was determined to uncover its secrets.

As she stepped inside, the warm, inviting aroma of simmering broth greeted her, promising a journey of flavors she had yet to encounter. The shop was cozy, with a welcoming atmosphere that hinted at stories waiting to be told. Behind the counter, an elderly chef worked with the precision and care of a true artisan.

With a sense of excitement, Emily approached the counter, greeted by a friendly server who handed her a menu. “What types of ramen do you offer?” she inquired, eager to explore the variety.

The server, noting her enthusiasm, recommended the seasonal special, a unique blend of flavors that captured the essence of the season. “What ingredients are used in your broth?” Emily asked, curious about the foundation of the dish’s flavor profile.

As her ramen was prepared, Emily observed the meticulous attention to detail that went into each bowl. She noticed other diners slurping their noodles with gusto, a practice she had read about. “Is it acceptable to slurp my noodles?” she asked the server, wanting to respect the cultural etiquette.

“Yes, it’s not just acceptable but encouraged,” the server replied with a smile. “It’s a sign that you’re enjoying your meal.”

When her ramen arrived, Emily was struck by the harmony of flavors and textures—a testament to the chef’s mastery. As she savored each bite, she felt a connection to the culture and history that inspired this culinary tradition. Her adventure had led her not just to a meal, but to an experience that nourished her soul.

After her meal, Emily expressed her gratitude to the chef, who shared a bit of his philosophy on ramen—a dish that, in its simplicity, holds the depth of tradition and innovation. She left the shop with a newfound appreciation for the art of ramen, a reminder that the most meaningful journeys often begin with a simple question.


  • When you enter a ramen shop, the first thing you do is go to the __________ machine to select your meal and pay.
  • Traditional ramen broth can be made from chicken, pork, or even seafood and is often referred to as the __________.
  • A common topping for ramen that adds a spicy kick is __________, a type of fermented bamboo shoots.
  • Ramen noodles are usually __________ in texture, which is achieved by adding a specific ingredient to the dough.
  • Before eating, it’s polite to say “__________,” which means “I gratefully receive.”
  • In many ramen shops, you can customize the __________ of your broth, from light to rich.
  • A seasoned egg that is soft-boiled and then marinated is known as a(n) __________ egg in the context of ramen.
  • To enhance the flavor of their ramen, customers might add a spoonful of __________, a spicy paste.
  • Ramen that is served with the broth and noodles separately is called __________ ramen.
  • After finishing their meal, customers often express their satisfaction by saying “__________,” which means “It was delicious.”

  • Ticket
  • Base
  • Menma
  • Alkaline
  • Itadakimasu
  • Richness
  • Ajitama
  • Rayu
  • Tsukemen
  • Gochisousama