What is the meaning of Kae-dama? It means “extra noodles please” at your favorite ramen restaurant. Its when you are almost done, but you want the yummy noodle goodness to continue.
When you’re at a ramen restaurant and you ask for Kae-Dama (or Kaedama), you’re essentially ordering an extra serving of noodles!
Kae-dama is great if you want to mix up some soft and hard noodles in the same bowl. If you are one of these ramen fans that like to mix up texture.. this is an easy way to do this- try it!
Most ramen shops will do this when you ask for it. We usually do it near the end of the meal when we still have a lot of Tonkotsu ramen broth left and have not finished our beer yet. It just keeps the party going for the hearty of us that like to drink and keep on eating (to possibly avoid a hangover).
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How to order Kae-dama
Some people order Kae-Dama once they’ve finished all of their noodles. Others order Kae-Dama off the bat. And some people order it when they are near the end of the meal.
At our local noodle bar, for example, they don’t just have this option with their hot Ramen dishes. It can also be applied to the cold ramen items on their menu. For Ramen orders, I’ve also seen people order the Kae-Dama with extra slices of Chashu Pork Belly and Marinated Soft Boiled Egg to replenish everything that came along with their broth. I’ve never seen anyone order an extra side of bamboo but I’m sure it’s possible!
Where did Kae-dama originate?
A ramen shop in Nagahama , Chuo-ku,Fukuoka City is considered to be the birthplace of the kae-dama system. It is said that it was devised as a system to provide a small extra amount of noodles, and then add noodles to the customers’ order while they were still eating. It is said that it spread throughout the country along with the later expansion of Hakata Ramen throughout the country, but if you look at it nationwide, it is only a limited part of the service in Japan centering around the shops that offer thin noodles “ Hakata Ramen ” (Nagahama Ramen).
At our favorite Ramen shop, they’ve had someone order and complete 10 servings of Kae-Dama and finish it in under 18 minutes. Crazy!
When ordering Kae-dama make sure you decide on soft, medium or hard. The medium noodles should be cooked perfectly, al dente style… the perfect texture. Just know that your ramen broth will most likely not cook noodles anymore once added to your bowl..so if you like chewy we would order a medium. Kae-dama goes hand in hand with ramen noodle cooking. So make sure you know your restaurant has it dialed in before you sit down.
If you love your noodles, don’t forget about the Kae-Dama option!