I live in Italy and I love ramen, but I can't seem to identify the characteristics that make for a good Japanese hot noodle serving bowl. What's a good capacity? Is there a well-known substitute that I'm unaware of?
This is just a personal preference I would like to share here:
Size: I tend to top my ramen with things like pork slices, vegetables such as bean sprouts, seafood etc. So, I prefer a bowl with wider opening so that I can still get to the ramen on the bottom with the food on top of it. But usually if the ramen bowl is wide, its bottom is flatter, and that means, in order to fill up the noodle with soup one would have to add more. To me, that's undesirable because the soup would be watered down (for instant type) and second with flatter bottom the heat disperses more quickly. I prefer still seeing steam coming off within the bowl even after I finish the ramen. That means it is hot enough and one of the most undesirable thing eating ramen is it gets cold before you finish it.
Material: I prefer a heavier type, a thicker type such as clay - it holds the heat better and for a longer time.
Lastly: Size really depends on how much you normal eat. Suggestion is: get one with the aforementioned taken into consideration and one that, when you put food on top, you would still be able to see your ramen on the bottom and can easily get access to it with your chopstick without having to fumble around or shove around the food on top. Just wide enough but not too wide because the heat lets off quickly with flatter bottom.
Now I am getting hungrier writing this. Bon Appetite.