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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Let's Learn About: Ramune

Hello everyone, Kiru here! ^o^

This weeks theme is.. *drum roll please*

Let's Learn About: Ramune

Ramune is a popular well known fizzy soft drink in Japan. The word Ramune is actually derived from the English word lemonade. If you say them together you will hear a similarity. ^^

For many people, the design of the bottle is the most eye-catching and distinct feature of Ramune. The product has become so popular over the years that many people collect them as they make wonderful colouful displays in living spaces.

The Bottle's unique design:

A regular comment we hear very often is "Wow this bottle is so weird!...Only in Japan" however the signature Ramune bottle design is in fact an English design.
The bottle's unique look is known as a Codd-neck bottle after the inventor, Hiram Codd.
The bottles themselves are usually made out of glass but can be made out of plastic and are sealed with a small marble which is held in place by the pressure of the carbonated liquid inside.

Opening the bottle is slightly tricky, and takes a little practice to do smoothly, but after a an attempt or two it becomes a piece of cake! ;D
Too remove the marble a small plastic device is always provided. It is pushed into the mouth of the bottle to push the marble down, at this point the marble is caught inside the neck of the bottle. Therefore, the drinks are sometimes called "marble soda" outside of Japan.

The History of Ramune, the drink:

The inventor of Ramune was a Scottish man called Alexander Cameron Sim who was born in 1840. 
He became a pharmacist in 1862. In 1866, he moved to Asia on assignment and by 1870, he had moved to Kobe - Japan, where he initially worked as a pharmacist. He began his own pharmaceutical company called AC Sim Shōkai. Sim's company specialized in the import and distribution of medicines and medical supplies. In 1884, Sim introduced a fizzy drink based on lemonade to the Kobe Foreign Settlement. This drink, called "mabu soda" soon became very popular with the local Japanese after it was advertised in the Tokyo Newspapers as a preventative for cholera which is often contacted from drinking unsafe dirty water.

So there you have it! Ramune may have even saves lives~ Ramune still remains a popular drink to this day in Japan, that is predominantly drunk in summer. As its popularity has grown so have all sorts of interesting flavours and packaging designs, including plenty of collaborations from popular japanese characters such as Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Pokemon and even popular Anime shows. 

Anohana Ramune, curtsey of Danny Choo's Culture Japan blog.

Hello Kitty, Pokemon and Doraemon Ramune
Ramune comes in many different delicious flavours such as grape, mango, melon and strawberry. However sometimes it can come in a variety of strange and unusual flavours; some seem just downright nasty.

The Ramune bellow from left to right are Curry, Takoyaki (battered balls containing octopus), salted watermelon, Corn Pottage, Kim Chee (korean fermented cabbage) and lastly Rayu (a sesame oil based sauce made with chili and sometimes garlic). The one on the far right is a Shin Chan edition of original Ramune. The guys over at RocketNews24 did a fantastic blog reviewing and featuring all of these strange flavours! Click on this link bellow to visit their blog and read this great if not a little gross post!

RocketNews24: We Sample Strange Flavours Of Ramune

Photo curtsey of rocketnews24.com 
Over the years Ramune has become one of the modern symbols of summer in Japan, and can often be found at special Ramune stalls at festivals throughout the summer. Empty bottles are usually collected for recycling at stalls where it is sold. As you can see many of the Ramune sold at festivals usually have very limited packaging that is placed across the lid of the bottle holding the cap and plunger in place. They are usually only sold in its original soda flavour. For more exciting flavours you can visit souvenir shops and some convenience stores. However these days there are plenty of websites like Tofu Cute that supply and post Ramune for your convenience in all different flavours and designs. 

Ramune is such a classic flavour in Japan now-a-days that many different kinds of snacks have been re-made in special Ramune flavours.

Here are some examples of different Ramune flavoured snacks:

This is a totally Ramune inspired candy. The bottle is made to replicate the shape of real Ramune bottle the candies inside are small refreshing hard tablets that replicate the tasty mouth watering flavour of grape flavoured Ramune. This candy is also available in several other flavours such as original Ramune and Cola.

Puccho, as you may have seen in our previous blog post, is a delicious yoghurt based chewy sweet with up to 3 different yummy textures, chewy, gummy and sometimes even fizzy! This particular flavour of Puccho is one of the most popular flavours of Puccho as it replicates the delicious fizzy flavour of Original Ramune. The candy has light stripes of blue running across it's surface!

Puccho - Soda Flavour

The next snack is Ramune flavoured Caramel Corn, Caramel Corn is a little corn puff snack with a slightly hardened outter shell that gives them a delicious crunch as you eat them. The bags usually contain quite a large amount so they are great for sharing. However if you are going to attempt to eat the bag alone they are very high in sugar so make sure to also eat your 5-a-day! ;D
These special edition Ramune flavoured Caramel corn are a white crisp colour and taste very much like soda, the fizziness is hard to detect however the flavour is spot on! Perfect for ringing in the summer~

No summer treat is complete without ice-cream and here Ramune and ice-cream have been combined to create the perfect cooling snack for warmer weather. As you can see the smooth creamy ice-cream has been swirled together with the blue fizzy soda ice-cream. Doesn't it just look so tasty?!

Lastly we have Limited edition Japanese Kit Kats in an unusual Original Ramune flavour! The wafer of each Kit Kat is covered in a light blue Ramune flavoured creamy white chocolate. Like the Caramel Corn, there is meant to be a light carbonated fizz however this is apparently also quite tricky to detect. The Flavour however is apparently spot on, a light and very sweet, slightly citrus flavoured soda. The colour of the Kit Kats are quite appealing in an artificial kind of way, and the combination of chocolate, wafer and soda flavour also sounds uniquely quite appetising.

Going back to the drink itself, many people struggle with how to open Ramune so we are going to do a quick step by step guide!

How to open Ramune:

0.5 Do not shake your Ramune, or attempt to open after travel or knowledge of recent shaking as this will end badly for you~

1. Remove the thin plastic seal on top of the lid, revealing a cap. The cap is often made of two parts. The outside doughnut shaped ring contains a secondary plunger shape. Pop out the central plunger shape and discard the outer ring.

2. Place the plunger shape onto the top of the Ramune bottle with the wide flat side facing upwards and the narrow tube-like part touching the top of the bottle. Now place the bottle on a hard surface such as a table and press firmly down with either both thumbs or the heel of your hand.


3. This will open the bottle and cause the marble blocking the lid to drop down into the neck causing a release of pressure and the Ramune to fizz upwards. Do not lift your hand for 5 seconds or until the liquid has visibly settled.


4. Remove the cap, discard and now feel free to enjoy your Ramune! (or what's left of it, if it has fizzed up and exploded everywhere as is often then case!) Oops~ I did mention that earlier! ;D

If you get a little stuck the instructions are on both the bottle and the plastic seal.

Review of Banana Ramune:

Banana Ramune is an interesting flavour, at first you are hit with the super fizzy carbonation of the soda, then the fizz beings to settle and you can fully taste a very sweet synthetic banana flavour which is very reminiscent of Foam Banana sweets. This is a great drink if you love banana candy and anything super fizzy! :3 

Well that's it for now. Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog, we hope you are enjoying our "Let's learn about:" series and that you've learnt a little about Japanese Ramune as we sure have!~
If you want to buy Ramune and you live in the UK, it is available to purchase from our website in a wide range of flavours!

Ramune at Tofu Cute

Thank you! Until next time, your social media team member Kiru ^o^

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