Ramen History

With its roots as a Chinese noodle dish, ramen spread to Japan and integrated with the local food-culture.

In 1859 Japan opened its ports to the world, bringing in linguistic interpreters from China and Western countries. Foreign settlements were set up in Japan's major port towns, where Chinese restaurants began to line the streets. This gave way to the formation of China Town. There, the Chinese noodle dish that would later become the source of Japanese ramen was served. In time, the Japanese locals began to eat at these Chinese establishments, some of which began to set up their own independent operations, selling noodles from carts (or yatai) on the streets.
The difference with Japanese ramen and the Chinese noodles can be seen in the soup stock, or dashi. The soup used for Chinese noodle dishes is used in several other Chinese soup dishes, whereas the soup stock used in Japanese ramen was created with only ramen in mind. Being a treasure-trove of umami, with anywhere from five to up to forty different ingredients used to make it, that’s one reason why ramen soup has drawn attention from around the world.

Ramen Varieties

The Noodles

Wheat, brine and regular water, salt and eggs comprise the primary ingredients that go into making the noodles. Noodles are categorized by five criteria: their thickness, the percent of water used to make them, their degree of wave or shape (chijire), and their color. These criteria together have an affect on the overall flavor. Notably, adjustments to the different noodle aspects are done to match the different soup characteristics: wavy noodles are generally more compatible to lighter soups, and straight noodles more compatible to thicker soups. What kind of noodles do you prefer?


The key factor to ramen is in the soup and how various ingredients go in to bring out the umami element. Soup is generally comprised of a salt, soy sauce, miso, or other sauce bases, and finished off by adding to this, an animal-based broth like pork bone or chicken bone, and a soup which may include things like niboshi (sardines), konbu (kelp), and other seafood or vegetable-based ingredients. There really are no rules. There are even soups made entirely of chicken, or pork bone.


Here too, with toppings, there are no particular rules. Standard toppings, however, include chashu (seasoned, roast pork), menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), green onion, soft-simmered egg, and nori. Other than the standard ingredients, can be found corn, narutomaki (spiral patterned fish cakes), wakame (seaweed), and even butter. Such variety is dependent on regional taste and shop master’s conceptualization.

Regional ramen in Japan

Regional ramen came into being as Chinese noodles disseminated throughout Japan, intermingling with the food, climatic and environmental aspects of each region. While defining the varieties is difficult, there are at least 30 or more distinct, regional ramen in Japan, and comparing the different tastes adds to the fascination of ramen.

Regional ramen from the world

From France and Germany to America and even Australia, Japanese born-and-bred ramen is presently taking the world by storm. The style now sweeping the world is one that’s true to Japanese form, but eventually, as has been seen in Japan, it will be drawn to intermix with the local climates, environments, and food cultures of each country, giving way to new regional ramen styles from around the globe.


source of information : http://www.raumen.co.jp/english/#history