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Ramen (ラーメン rāmen?IPA: [ɽaꜜːmeɴ]  ( listen)) is a Japanese noodle dish that originated in China. It is served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (チャーシュー chāshū?), dried seaweed(海苔 nori?)kamaboko, green onions and even corn. Almost every locality in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from thetonkotsu ramen of Kyūshū to the miso ramen of Hokkaidō.

Though of Chinese origin, it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan. Even the etymology of the word ramen is a topic of debate. One hypothesis is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese: 拉麺 (la mian), meaning hand-pulled noodles." A second hypothesis proposes 老麺 (laomian, "old noodles") as the original form, while another states that ramen was initially 鹵麺 (lǔmiàn), noodles cooked in a thick, starchy sauce. A fourth hypothesis is 撈麵 (lāomiàn, "lo mein"): 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.

Until the 1950s, 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 more common. 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 Momofuku Ando, the Taiwanese-Japanese founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll,[1] 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. A ramen museum opened in Yokohama in 1994.[2] 
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review by . June 03, 2009
I'm reviewing ramen.  Not the Top Ramen type of thing.. or the instant noodles... or the Cup Of Noodles.    None of that.  I'm reviewing genuine steaming ramen--chashu, shoyu, miso, shio type of deal.    Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish.  It can come hot or cold, and sometimes, without soup!       For the soup based ramen, there are four variations.   The soup is essentially a broth made from chicken or …
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