Updated: Jun 27, 2018
Ramen, the famous noodle soup dish, has strong identity as Japanese food. Surprisingly, do you know that it doesn't actually come from Japan? Maybe you don't know much about this one of the world's favourite dish!
Surprisingly, ramen is not originally from Japan. As you can guess, the food has Chinese origins. The word “ramen” itself evidently comes from the Chinese term “la mian”, which means “handmade noodles”.
Ramen just grew significantly popular for Japanese in the late 19th and early 20th century. The food was like a match made in heaven, since Japan was becoming more urbanised. Japanese people had jobs in the cities, and eat in restaurants, instead of had their own food prepared at home.
At first, ramen made simple with noodles in a broth flavoured with pork bones and salt. It wasn't modified like the ramen we enjoy now. Generally, the ramen we eat consists of noodles in a broth along with meat or fish, and vegetables. It's also often flavoured with miso or soy sauce.
However, Japanese people creates more experiment for ramen. Their creations went far, as we can see many regions of Japan produced different ramen varieties. Some of the most popular regional varieties include Tokyo ramen, Asahikawa and Sapporo ramen from Hokkaido, Kitakata ramen from Fukushima Prefecture, and Hakata ramen from Fukuoka Prefecture.
Each type of ramen consists of their own special noodles, soup and toppings. Apparently, Japanese found the formula to serve this “immigrant dish” in their own way. Have you tried all of the ramen based on regional varieties?
Please note that we're not talking about instant ramen noodles here! The food is also a cultural icon of Japan, and it saves many college students life for being inexpensive and tasty at the same time.
Of course, the real ramen is using fresh noodles. Dried noodles often available in the market, too, in case you want to prepare ramen by yourself. But the food in the restaurants is artisanal hand-made type of ramen, typical hand-made comfort food we crave.
The good news is, more and more ramen restaurants are opening their branches here in Singapore. You can try any Japanese ramen you want. From Hakata ramen, to Sapporo ramen.