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Fresh ramen noodles
Ramen (ラーメン, らーめん, 拉麺, rāmen?, IPA: [ɺaːmeɴ], listen (help·info)) is a Japanese dish of noodles served in broth, originating from China (see lamian). It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that it is served in broth based on meat such as chicken, as well as in the type of noodles and toppings used.
Ramen is served with a variety of toppings, such as sliced pork (チャーシュー chāshū), seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, and even corn. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyūshū to the miso ramen of Hokkaidō.
2.3 Regional variations
3 Related dishes
4 Ramen outside Japan
5 Ramen in popular culture
7 See also
8 External links
Ramen originated in China before making its way to Japan and was used in Japanese cuisine.
While Tokugawa Mitsukuni reportedly ate ramen in the late 17th century, it was only during the Meiji period that the dish became widely known (perhaps because for most of its history, the Japanese diet consisted mostly of vegetables and seafood rather than meat). The introduction of American and European cuisine, which demanded increased production of meat products, played a large role in ramen's increased popularity.
Ramen was introduced in Japan (Chinatowns of Kobe or Yokohama) during the Meiji era. Salt ramen originated in Hokkaido in the Taisho era.
Though of Chinese origin, it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan. Even the etymology of the term "ramen" is a topic of debate. One hypothesis and probably the most credible is that "ramen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese: 拉麺 (lamian), meaning "hand-pulled noodles" (a name that is still used in Chinese for these sort of noodles). A second hypothesis proposes 老麺 (laomian, "old noodles") as the original form, while yet another states that ramen was initially 鹵麺 (lúmiàn), noodles cooked in a thick, starchy sauce. A fourth hypothesis is 撈麵(lāomiàn): 撈 means to "dredge up" and refers to the method of cooking these noodles by immersing them in boiling water before dredging them up with a wire basket.
In the early Meiji period, ramen was called shina soba (支那そば, literally "Chinese soba") but today chūka soba (中華そば, also meaning "Chinese soba") is the more common and politically correct term. By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai offered a simple ramen dish of noodles (cut rather than hand pulled), a few toppings, and a broth flavored with salt and pork bones. Many Chinese also pulled portable food stalls, selling ramen and gyōza dumplings to workers. By the mid 1900s, these stalls used a type of a musical horn called a charumera (チャルメラ, from the Portuguese charamela) to advertise their presence, a practice some vendors still retain via a loudspeaker and a looped recording. By the early Shōwa period, ramen had become a popular dish when eating out.
After World War II, cheap flour imported from the U.S. swept the Japanese market. At the same time, millions of Japanese troops had returned from China and continental East Asia. Many of these returnees had become familiar with Chinese cuisine and subsequently set up Chinese restaurants across Japan. Eating ramen, while popular, was still a special occasion that required going out.
In 1958, instant noodles were invented by the late Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water. Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names.Source(s): wiki