Ramen Toppings 101: Narutomaki

Narutomaki — a delightful steamed fish paste cake — is a super popular topping for ramen that’s absolutely worth trying if you haven’t already. If you've been wanting to add a classic Japanese touch to your Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen cup, or explore new ways to elevate your Japanese cooking in general, then narutomaki might just be the perfect ingredient for you. Narutomaki is simple, healthy, and flavorful. It’s also really unique-looking with its pink spiral and fluffy cloud shape, so it’ll no doubt add a bit of extra pizzazz to your instant ramen cup.

Traditionally, narutomaki is made by blending fish paste with seasonings and shaping it into a small, aesthetically-pleasing cylindrical log. From there, the log is steamed to create the firm and slightly chewy texture of narutomaki. When sliced, the cross-section of narutomaki reveals an intricate spiral pattern, which looks a lot like a pink whirlpool. As we mentioned before, it’s quite visually striking (the word “whimsical” comes to mind), and will certainly add quite a bit of aesthetic to any ramen bowl. In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of narutomaki, and how it came to be an especially popular ramen topping.

Ramen Toppings 101: Narutomaki

What is Narutomaki?

Narutomaki has become a beloved and popular ramen topping all over the world. Its unique appearance, delicious taste, and historical significance are what we believe make it a must-try ingredient for any ramen or Japanese food enthusiasts out there. The origins of narutomaki can actually be traced back to the Naruto Strait in Tokushima, Japan, which is famous for its incredibly powerful whirlpools. Legend has it that a local chef created this elegant fish cake to pay homage to this particular natural wonder — which is quite fascinating.

The chef who created this delectable ramen topping blended fish paste with different seasonings — mainly salt, sugar, and a few additional seafood or vegetable components to further enhance the narutomaki’s flavor. This absolute legend then rolled the mixture into a cylindrical shape and steamed it to perfection. The delightful pink spiral of narutomaki made itself known when the chef sliced the steamed fish cake into even pieces and placed them on top of some homemade ramen.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, narutomaki is sure to add a mouthwatering burst of umami flavor to any dish it graces, including mighty Mike’s ramen, of course! The fish paste imparts a delicate yet savory taste, which will, without a doubt, complement the rich broth and other ingredients you decide to add to your Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen cup. Narutomaki is known for adding a lot of depth and complexity to Japanese dishes like ramen and sushi, so we’d definitely recommend giving it a try!

Ramen Toppings 101: Narutomaki

What Does Narutomaki Taste Like?

Narutomaki on its own boasts a pleasantly chewy and slightly rubbery texture, which is the result of steaming the fish cake. Because the fish is transformed into a fine paste before it goes through the steaming process, the texture ends up being quite unique. As a result, these little fish cakes serve as the perfect topping for a bowl of Mike’s Mighty Good chicken ramen or miso ramen. Add the crisp snap of fresh vegetables to the mix, and you’ve got yourself some mighty good ramen. That’s for sure! 

Despite the fact they’re made from fish, narutomaki surprisingly lacks the strong seafood taste that one might expect from it. This is because the fish is meticulously washed during the preparation process, which removes any overpowering flavors. Instead, these pretty little fish cakes offer a gentle and comforting umami essence that blends well with the background of the rich sauces and spices that are typically found in ramen and other broth-based dishes. If you’re having narutomaki on its own, we’d recommend dipping it in some sriracha or another type of zesty dipping sauce. We truly can’t think of anything more mouthwatering.

Why Should You Add Narutomaki to Your Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen Bowl?

It’s always good to try new things, and when it comes to narutomaki as a ramen topping, we can’t recommend it enough. As you may already know, Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen bowls are quite flavorful already, but putting some narutomaki on top will be a great way to really pull the dish together. Let’s take a closer look at the main reasons why you should consider adding narutomaki to your ramen noodles, shall we?

Unique Texture

When incorporating these fish cakes into a bowl of Mike’s mighty good ramen, you’re sure to notice their interesting and mouthwatering texture. The chewiness adds an enjoyable contrast to the tenderness of the noodles, and the delicate umami glow of the narutomaki melds effortlessly with the robust flavors of the delicious broth. We’d recommend trying a piece of narutomaki on its own before you add it to your chicken, beef, or vegetable ramen bowl, just to make sure you like the taste and texture!

Incredible Flavor

As we mentioned before, the flavor of narutomaki is relatively mild because of the washing process that the fish goes through before it gets steamed. However, mildness isn’t a bad thing. It simply means that it isn’t too overpowering (as fish often tends to be). Because of its mild, comforting, umami flavor, these fish cakes have become an absolute staple of Japanese cuisine. They’re not too overpowering, so they go pretty well with anything — meaning you can try them in almost any type of ramen!


As you may have guessed, the versatility of narutomaki extends way beyond just ramen (though, we think a bowl of Mike’s Might Good Craft Ramen is the absolute best place to incorporate this unique ingredient). Narutomaki can be used as a delectable addition to other Asian dishes as well, like stir-fries and udon noodles to give a few examples. When it comes to ramen toppings, though, these fish cakes are an absolute must. Don’t forget to dip them in a little bit of sriracha or soy sauce as well!

Nice to Look At

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to add a bit of whimsy to your ramen bowl. Well, now you can! Sliced narutomaki pieces look like little clouds with cute, pink swirls etched into them. Serve up some mighty good ramen topped with narutomaki to your guests, and they’ll be “oohing” and “ahhing” at these adorable little marvels for sure. It’ll also, of course, look really nice in pictures, so if you’re starting a ramen-themed blog or want to get a bunch of likes on Instagram, you’ll definitely want to use narutomaki as a ramen topping.

Ramen Toppings 101: Narutomaki

Frequently Asked Questions

Is narutomaki good for you?

Yes! Because narutomaki is made from white fish, it contains a lot of high-quality protein and calcium. It’s also low in calories and fat, so it’s a great ingredient to add if you’re trying to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

How do you store narutomaki?

You should always store narutomaki in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You want to make sure that it’s not going to dry out or get exposed to too much moisture! Narutomaki has a shelf life of about 3 to 5 days, but the sooner you’re able to use it, the better. You can, of course, extend its shelf life slightly by freezing it. However, you’ll need to be careful when thawing it (i.e. let it thaw slowly) so that you don’t get exposed to any foodborne illnesses. If your narutomaki is slimy in appearance or texture, or if it has an odd odor, you’ll probably want to throw it out and make a fresh batch for your next cup of Mike's Mighty Good Craft ramen.

"Mike's Mighty Good has permanently changed my lunch game. Never knew an 'instant soup' could be so good."

Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant of the Stuff You Should Know Podcast