Did you know that in Japan it is common to order more noodles for your ramen soup at no cost? This act is called Kaedama [替え玉], and today we are going to study this Japanese word.
Kaedama is an additional request to replace only noodles after eating all the noodles in the broth at a ramen restaurant. This request is usually common and free.
"Tae-Dama" [替え玉] means "change" or "replace" while "lady" means "ball" or "sphere". Therefore, "tae-dama" usually refers to an additional pasta shell.
We also recommend reading:
- Ramen's Guide - Types, Curiosities and Recipes
- 15 types of Japanese noodles
- Kogashi Ramen - The fiery noodles
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What is the origin of Kaedama?
This custom is believed to have been invented at the "Ganso Nagahama-Ya" store located in Nagahama, Fukuoka.
The custom arose because the noodles served stretched easily while being eaten, so they offered them in small quantities and allowed the customer to ask for more noodles.
This system spread to other ramen shops in Fukuoka and then across the country, but is only offered in a few places, usually shops offering fine ramen from Fukuoka or Nagahama.
Do all restaurants offer Kaedama?
Not all ramen shops in Fukuoka, as well as outside Kyushu, offer the kaedama system, and some shops do not offer taedama during peak hours either.
In eastern Kanto, many ramen shops, even those offering ramen from Kyushu or Fukuoka, do not offer kaedama service.
Some stores may also require the customer to hand the container to the store employee, while others may provide noodles in the already boiled container or directly from the pot.
Some stores also offer additional ingredients such as “ramen dare” or sesame and gum. The type of noodle offered is generally thin due to the history of its origin in Fukuoka and cooking time.
Some permitem restaurants choose between thick or thin noodles, while others only offer thin. It is possible to choose the hardness of the noodles, just like in the first portion, and some stores also offer homemade noodles.
Even if an establishment doesn't usually provide this type of service, it doesn't hurt to ask, many can add noodles without any problem.
In some places you can offer an extra portion of noodles in dishes like udon and soba. One such place is known as Maki's Udon. There are other similar customs like wadama.