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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.