Have had the chance to eat ramen at a range of different places in Tokyo and discovered that the more my husband likes the ramen the more I dislike it. There's a particular taste that he really enjoys and it's not something that comes through everywhere, in fact, the taste I dislike tends to be stronger at more "down at heel" establishments.
Sometimes it's discernible in the broth and noodles themselves, it's usually stronger still in the accompanying spicy moyashi/bean sprouts (those that sit in a communal covered pot at the table), it's strongest of all in the menma/bamboo shoots. Occasionally my husband buys glass jars of sliced bamboo shoots from Chinese supermarkets, I have to leave the room when he opens them, the stench is that of the taste I'm enquiring about here.
What the heck is it? Why is it so strong in some ramen and nearly if not absent in others? I've wondered if it's lye, but I'm not sure lye would be present in fermented moyashi or menma.
Anyone have any ideas? (Or even know what I'm going on about?)