For years, the word ramen would make most people’s minds immediately go to the instant-noodle variety, so long a staple of dorm rooms and bachelor pads. But these days, the real deal—prepared from scratch rather than taken from a packet—is becoming more and more accessible. After making its mark in cities like New York and L.A., the dish spread its influence further in the U.S. last year, being named a top ten dish by critics in Boston and Philadelphia.

Yahoo! Japan, Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, and The Japan Times joined forces on the “World Ramen White Paper Project,” a global study devised to assess ramen’s influence around the world. Here are a few of the findings from a survey of 676 ramen eaters in 44 countries:

  • Al dente noodles are preferred over chewier ones.
  • The majority of respondents prefer tsukemen, or dipping-style ramen.
  • Tonkotsu (pork bone) broth is more popular than miso, and the favored toppings are egg, chashu (roasted pork), and green onions.
  • 18% of Americans would wait up to an hour for a bowl of ramen.
  • The least popular topping is menma (bamboo shoots).

It all goes to show how well ramen has traveled outside of Japan, perhaps due in part to visitors to Japan who bring tidings of its goodness back home: An overwhelming percentage of participants in the study (83%) indicated they had visited Japan before, and 85% of those had ramen during a trip there.

[via The Japan Times]