Ramen is a Japanese dish that originated from China. Ramen, written in Katakana (Japanese alphabet used for foreign words) is the Japanese pronunciation of Lamian (hand-pulled noodles). It is commonly eaten in Japan, however it is exported to other countries in the form of instant ramen or served in Japanese eateries around the world.
The dish is often served in a meat broth and can be flavored with miso or soy sauce. Common toppings include chashu pork (Chinese-style barbecued pork), green onions, kamaboko (fish cake), dried seaweed, and eggs. The noodles are typically made from wheat flour and are slightly curly. Some of the popular types of ramen include:
- Tonkotsu ramen consists of a creamy, hearty pork broth that is made from boiling pork fat, bones, and collagen for many hours.
- Shoyu ramen consists of a dark, soy sauce-flavored broth based on beef, chicken, or fish stock.
- Shio ramen consists of a clear, salty broth. Pork bones are occasionally used like for tonkotsu, but it is lighter.
- Miso ramen consists of a flavorful soybean-paste broth made with chicken stock and sometimes tonkotsu.
Ramen is traditionally eaten with chopsticks. Once all of the noodles and toppings have been eaten, the soup can be drunk from the bowl. Some restaurants have even implemented a system where they can "re-fill" the noodles at the request of the customers if sufficient soup remains.
Instant ramen, invented in 1958, was voted as the best Japanese invention of the 20th Century. Canned ramen is also available for a quick snack. Instant ramen vending machines can be found around Japan.
In 1994, a museum dedicated entirely to ramen opened in Yokohama, Japan.