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Also known as reimen, esp. in western Japan. A summer dish of chilled ramen on a plate with various toppings and served with a vinegary soy dressing and karashi . It was first produced at the Ryutei, a Chinese restaurant in Sendai.

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By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai offered a simple ramen dish of noodles , a few toppings, and a broth flavored with salt and pork bones. Many Chinese living in Japan also pulled portable food stalls, selling ramen and gyōza dumplings to workers. By the mid-1900s, these stalls used a type of a musical horn called a charumera to advertise their presence, a practice some vendors still retain via a loudspeaker and a looped recording. By the early Shōwa period, ramen had become a popular dish when eating out.

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A wide variety of ramen exists in Japan, with geographical and vendor-specific differences even in varieties that share the same name. Ramen can be broadly categorized by its two main ingredients: noodles and broth.

Miso ramen is a relative newcomer, having reached national prominence around 1965. This uniquely Japanese ramen, which was developed in Hokkaido, features a broth that combines copious miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup. Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste or tōbanjan , butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.

Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu , katsuobushi , niboshi , beef bones, pig bones, shiitake, and onions. Some modern Ramen broths can also be vegetable based.

There are a number of related, Chinese-influenced noodle dishes in Japan. The following are often served alongside ramen in ramen establishments. They do not include noodle dishes considered traditionally Japanese, such as soba or udon, which are almost never served in the same establishments as ramen.

Ramen is offered in various types of restaurants and locations including ramen shops, izakaya drinking establishments, lunch cafeterias, karaoke halls, and amusement parks. However, the best quality ramen is usually only available in specialist ramen-ya restaurants.

Shōyu ramen is the oldest of the four, it has a clear brown broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory yet still fairly light on the palate. Shōyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones, but this is not always the case. It is often adorned with marinated bamboo shoots or menma, green onions, kamaboko , nori , boiled eggs, bean sprouts or black pepper; occasionally the soup will also contain chili oil or Chinese spices, and some shops serve sliced beef instead of the usual chāshū.

While standard versions of ramen are available throughout Japan since the Taisho era, the last few decades have shown a proliferation of regional variations. Some of these which have gone on to national prominence are:

The origin of ramen is unclear. Some sources say it is of Chinese origin.Other sources say it was invented in Japan in the early 20th century. The word ramen is a Japanese borrowing of the Chinese lamian .Until the 1950s, ramen was called shina soba but today chūka soba or just ramen are more common, as the word has acquired a pejorative connotation.

Ramen is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork , dried seaweed , menma , and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Nagasaki champon. The noodles are thicker than ramen but thinner than udon. Champon is topped with a variety of ingredients, mostly seafood, stir-fried and dressed in a starchy sauce. The stir-fried ingredients are poured directly over the cooked noodles, with the sauce acting as a soup.

Most tonkotsu ramen restaurants offer a system known as kae-dama , where customers who have finished their noodles can request a “refill” to be put into their remaining soup.

Sichuan hot and sour soup served with long noodles. The topping ingredients are sauteed and a thickener is added, before the mix is poured on the soup and the noodles.

Kitakata in northern Honshu is known for its rather thick, flat, curly noodles served in a pork-and-niboshi broth. The area within its former city boundaries has the highest per-capita number of ramen establishments. Ramen has such prominence in the region that locally, the word soba usually refers to ramen, and not to actual soba which is referred to as nihon soba .

Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied around the world from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names. A ramen museum opened in Yokohama in 1994.

Most noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, as well as sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid.

Tonkotsu soup usually has a cloudy white colored broth. It is similar to the Chinese baitang and has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consistency that rivals milk, melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop).

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, is especially famous for its ramen. Most people in Japan associate Sapporo with its rich miso ramen, which was invented there and which is ideal for Hokkaido’s harsh, snowy winters. Sapporo miso ramen is typically topped with sweetcorn, butter, bean sprouts, finely chopped pork, and garlic, and sometimes local seafood such as scallop, squid, and crab. Hakodate, another city of Hokkaido, is famous for its salt flavored ramen,while Asahikawa in the north of the island offers a soy sauce-flavored variation. In Muroran, many ramen restaurants offer Muroran curry ramen.

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