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Toshiyuki Kiyomiya likes to compare ramen to a carefully arranged universe in a bowl.

The savory combination of steaming broth, noodles and toppings — typically ranging from chāshū (Chinese-style roasted pork) and menma (pickled bamboo shoots) to soy-sauce braised soft-boiled eggs and sheets of nori — is a complete meal by itself that can easily be adapted to local tastes, he said.

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