Perhaps you've been wondering if there's another world out there, sighing as you eat your instant noodles. Good news--there's a bowl of ramen out there for everyone! Here are some general, common types of ramen you should know to get started on finding your very own favorite bowl of ramen

1. Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen

ramen, egg, vegetable, soup, pork
Karen Kurosawa

Soup: Soy sauce-based

Shoyu ramen is very classic--it's simple, but the soy sauce-based soup gives it more than a one-dimensional flavor.

2. Miso Ramen

ramen, pork, meat, duck, beef
Karen Kurosawa

Soup: Miso-based 

Miso ramen is a relatively new creation--it started to become popular in Japan in the 1960s. The miso gives the soup sweeter notes; popular toppings for miso ramen are corn and butter to complement this sweetness

3. Tonkotsu Ramen

vegetable, meat, ramen, pasta, noodle, soup
Karen Kurosawa

Soup: Pork broth-based

Tonkotsu ramen is served with thin, wiry noodles that contrast well with the rich soup. It's full of complex flavors and is overall very multidimensional. It's also very popular in the United States.

4. Shio (Salt) Ramen

pork, meat, beef, vegetable
Karen Kurosawa

Soup: Salt-based

Shio ramen has a refreshing, light characteristic that sets it apart from Miso or Tonkotsu ramen. Shio ramen goes well with seafood ingredients, and it'll bring the ocean straight to you.

For the Summer: Cold Noodles

I saved this one for those that read to the end--cold noodles are the absolute best because of their versatility. The possibilities for toppings are endless--crab, seaweed, kaiware sprouts, egg, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. are all viable candidates.

Another plus is that there isn't much concern about your noodles getting soggy, unlike hot ramen. Cold noodles are known to be a summer staple in Japan, but like iced coffee, I would say that it's perfect in any time of the year (although seasonal toppings distinguish this situation from that of iced coffee)

It's important to keep in mind that every store's bowl of ramen is unique. For instance, even if you don't like the shio ramen from one place, it doesn't mean you'll dislike all shio ramen.