A brief History of Ramen | Otaku Ramen (2024)

Ramen is a popular Japanese dish that consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and topped with ingredients such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, and green onions. The dish has its origins in China, where it was introduced to Japan in the 19th century.

The first known instance of ramen in Japan occurred in 1859, when the Chinese ambassador to Japan, Zeng Gongliang, presented the dish to the Japanese Emperor. Ramen quickly gained popularity in Japan, and by the early 20th century, it had become a staple food in the country.

During World War II, ramen became even more popular in Japan as a cheap and filling meal for soldiers and civilians alike. After the war, cheap and convenient instant ramen noodles were introduced, making the dish even more accessible to the general public.

In the decades that followed, ramen continued to evolve and gain popularity both within Japan and internationally. In the 1950s, a new type of ramen called “shina soba” (literally “Chinese noodles”) emerged, which was made with thicker, curly noodles and a more flavorful broth. In the 1960s, new styles of ramen such as tonkotsu (pork bone) and miso ramen were introduced, further expanding the dish’s popularity.

A brief History of Ramen | Otaku Ramen (1)

Today, ramen is enjoyed not only in Japan but also around the world, with many international variations and interpretations of the dish. It has become a cultural phenomenon, with entire restaurants and even museum exhibitions dedicated to the history and art of making ramen.

A brief History of Ramen | Otaku Ramen (2)

In addition to the history of ramen itself, the history of instant ramen is also interesting and significant. Instant ramen was first introduced in Japan in 1958 by Momof*cku Ando, the founder of the company Nissin. Ando was inspired to create instant ramen after seeing people in post-war Japan struggling to afford a hot meal, and wanted to create a convenient and affordable option for them.

Instant ramen is different from authentic, handmade ramen in several ways. One major difference is the ingredients used. Authentic ramen typically uses high-quality, fresh ingredients, including wheat flour for the noodles and a variety of meats and vegetables for the broth and toppings. In contrast, instant ramen often uses lower-quality ingredients and preservatives to extend its shelf life.

Another difference is the method of preparation. Authentic ramen is typically made from scratch, with the broth and noodles prepared separately and then combined in a bowl. Instant ramen, on the other hand, is pre-cooked and then dehydrated, with the broth and noodles packaged together in a single serving. To prepare instant ramen, the noodles and broth are rehydrated by adding hot water, making the dish quick and easy to prepare.

Despite these differences, instant ramen has become incredibly popular around the world, particularly among people looking for a convenient and affordable meal option. In fact, it has become so popular that it has spawned an entire subculture, with fans experimenting with different ways to prepare and enjoy instant ramen, from adding additional ingredients to making creative recipes with it.

In conclusion, the history of ramen is a rich and fascinating one, with roots in China and evolution in Japan. From its humble beginnings as a filling meal, it has become a beloved dish enjoyed by people all over the world.

To learn more read “The Untold History of Ramen” by George Solt

A brief History of Ramen | Otaku Ramen (2024)


What is the history of ramen? ›

Ramen is a Japanese adaptation of Chinese wheat noodle soups. It is first recorded to have appeared in Yokohama Chinatown in the early 20th century. Although ramen takes its name from lāmiàn, it did not originate from the hand-pulled lamian noodles of northern China, since the noodles used in ramen are cut, not pulled.

What is a brief history of instant ramen summary? ›

Instant noodles were invented by Momof*cku Ando of Nissin Foods in Japan. They were launched in 1958 under the brand name Chikin Ramen. In 1971, Nissin introduced Cup Noodles, the first cup noodle product. Instant noodles are marketed worldwide under many brand names.

What is the summary of ramen? ›

Simply put, ramen is a Japanese noodle soup, with a combination of a rich flavoured broth, one of a variety of types of noodle and a selection of meats or vegetables, often topped with a boiled egg.

Why was ramen illegal in Japan? ›

Conflict & Difficult Times. The famine, food shortages and difficult times that followed World War II nearly wiped out the first wave of ramen's popularity. Making a living in the food business was made impossible after Japan's government prohibited people from making a profit from a restaurant or push cart until 1949.

What are some fun facts about ramen? ›

Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.
  • The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets. ...
  • It's the best-selling item at Rikers prison. ...
  • Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.
Sep 10, 2014

Who invented instant ramen? ›

Momof*cku Ando (1910 – 2007)

Momof*cku Ando was born on March 5, 1910. He established Nissin Food Products and founded the Ando Foundation. In 1958, Momof*cku invented Chicken Ramen, the world's first instant ramen, creating the instant ramen industry.

What is the untold history of ramen about? ›

In The Untold History of Ramen, George Solt explores how something as simple as ramen noodles can be transformed from humble beginnings as a Chinese dish to what is now recognized as a symbol of Japanese culture.

What is the history of top ramen noodles? ›

History. Instant noodles were invented in 1958 by Momof*cku Ando, the Taiwanese-born founder of the Japanese food company Nissin. He used Chicken Ramen as the first brand of instant ramen noodles.

What caused ramen to become popular all around the world? ›

Ramen became popular outside of Japan primarily due to the globalization movement. The geography of cuisine changed as the world became more linked. This noodle soup's rich and varied flavors were made more widely known when ramen restaurants appeared in big cities worldwide.

What makes ramen so special? ›

Noodles: Ramen noodles contain wheat flour, salt, water and a special alkaline water called “kansui.” “Kansui” is what gives the noodles their unique flavor and springy texture. Noodle shape and thickness often change depending on the type of ramen you're eating.

What is the history of ramen in Korea? ›

The first Ramen in Korea was instant noodle developed by Samyang Ramyun. In 1963, Jung Yun Jeon, a founder of Samyang Food Company, introduced the technology of making Ramen from Japan to Korea. The reason why he imported the skill from Japan is similar to that of Japanese noodle got popularity.

What is the history of Tonkotsu Ramen? ›

History. Tonkotsu ramen was invented in December 1937 by Tokio Miyamoto at his yatai originated in Kurume, f*ckuoka Prefecture, which is located on the northern shore of Kyushu island in Japan. The dish was further refined to its milky appearance by Katsumi Sugino when he accidentally overcooked his origin broth.

Is it rude to eat ramen with a fork in Japan? ›

It may be considered rude to eat ramen with a fork if you are in a traditional setting or restaurant. This is because it is traditional to eat ramen with a set of chopsticks and a ramen ladle. However you can eat with a fork when you're at home if it's how you feel most comfortable.

Is it rude to not finish ramen in Japan? ›

Not finishing one's meal is not considered impolite in Japan, but rather is taken as a signal to the host that one wishes to be served another helping. Conversely, finishing one's meal completely, especially the rice, indicates that one is satisfied and therefore does not wish to be served any more.

Why can't Muslims eat ramen? ›

Ramen is the epitome of Japanese food. The soup can be made with a soy sauce, miso, and salt base, but it is the pork-based variant that has been the most popular in recent years. So, it is unfortunate for Muslims that they can very rarely eat ramen these days.

Is ramen originally Chinese or Japanese? ›

Ramen is actually of Chinese origin, with most historians agreeing that it was brought to Japan by Chinese immigrants living in Yokohama in the late 19th century. Today, ramen restaurants offer a variety of styles and toppings, but early iterations of ramen were simpler—wheat noodles with Chinese-style roasted pork.

Is ramen originally from Korea? ›

Is ramen originally Korean or Japanese? Ramen from Japan and Korea was inspired by the Chinese dish called lamien. The Chinese noodle dish originated from the northern part of the country. It is said that Japanese ramen was first served in the port city of Yokohama during the 20th century.

What are the 5 components of ramen? ›

“There are five basic elements to ramen: noodles, tare, broth, topping and aroma oil,” Sun Noodle's executive chef Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura says.

What's the difference between ramen and noodles? ›

Ramen is usually thicker in texture as compared to regular noodles. They are not as thick as other varieties, but they have a somewhat medium thickness and a chewy texture. Whereas noodles come in a variety of forms and are known for having a thinner consistency with a smoother texture.

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