Authentic Japanese Ramen
Many chefs worldwide are currently cooking up their version of what authentic Japanese ramen is supposed to look and taste like. Yet, it’s hard to say what each of those chefs is basing their cooking on. Ramen that they sampled in person in Japan? Their ideal image of what Japanese ramen should taste like? Or perhaps what they think Authentic Japan ramen is supposed to be?
One thing’s for certain – if you’re curious about authentic Japanese ramen, you need to start in the past to get the full understanding of ramen in the present. As with many foods, ramen has seen a distinct split between fresh, restaurant quality ramen and instant, prepared at home (or work, or school, or anywhere really) ramen. We’ll take a quick look at the history behind both of these movements to find out what the modern day view of authentic Japanese ramen has become.
A Quick History Of Japanese Ramen
Some say that the true origins of ramen are untraceable, while others claim that ramen was originally invented in China. As the name ‘ramen’ is actually a Japanese transcription of the Chinese word ‘lamian’, it’s not hard to see that there was definitely an influence from China in the dish’s creation. Regardless, in the early 20th century, Japan had created their own unique take on the savory meal and made it how they wanted it.
Much like the origins of instant ramen, the aftermath of World War II played a part in the development of Japanese ramen. Flour from the United States was available at a much cheaper price than other countries could offer on their imports, and the food wasn’t as abundantly available during the aftermath of the war. Ramen stalls and restaurants opened to serve the hungry public, and after serving time in China during the war, Japanese troops who were returning home were thankful to see one of their favorite Chinese dishes so easily accessible.
The rest they say is history. As Japan started to open its borders to the world, people began touring the country to see what the tiny island nation had to offer. Ramen was quickly tied in as one of the many symbols of Japan and has remained that way ever since. Ramen museums were erected so that people visiting Japan would be able to take a stroll through culinary history and learn how ramen had changed and developed throughout the years. Gaining world recognition, there are even a few ramen restaurants that have received a Michelin star!
A Quick History Of Japanese Instant Ramen
Japanese instant ramen was invented by Momofuku Ando in an attempt to try and feed citizens of Japan after the destruction of World War II. He saw the need for a cheap, easy to make food source that tasted good and provided nutrients and substance. After many failures in trying to dehydrate ramen noodles, Ando eventually found a solution – though it was supposedly by accident – and thus created the instant ramen noodles we all love to enjoy even to this day!
If you want to read all about this amazing discovery, you can read our article, “The History of Instant Ramen” for more information. You’ll get to know all about the man behind the creation of such a world renown food, as well as how instant ramen has changed the world.
Authentic Japanese Ramen Today
In modern day society, there is a rift of opinion about authentic Japanese ramen. Is it authentic ramen if the chef isn’t Japanese? What if the recipe is different than what was originally set forth by those who perfected it? If a new flavor is created in Japan, is it still considered authentic ramen? What are the guidelines to knowing if the lovely bowl of noodles your enjoying is the real deal or not?
The answer is both simple and complex. Ramen is ramen. It’s only as authentic to a person as they think it is. Some people might be satisfied knowing that they’re enjoying authentic ramen because they’re eating at a ramen establishment in another country that was founded and run by a Japanese chef who spent many years honing his cooking skills in Japan. Others will scoff and claim that they’re not having authentic ramen because the waiter who’s serving them at a ramen restaurant in Japan isn’t Japanese, therefore tarnishing the entire experience. Both people are correct in their own right, though many don’t see it that way.
The bottom line is that Japan is a country that had kept itself locked away from the rest of the world for a long time. Now that they’ve finally opened the doors and become more accepting of interacting with other nations and countries, their biggest wish is to share just as much about themselves as they learn from others. Authentic ramen is any ramen that’s inspired by, closely follows, or pays homage to the origins of these delicious noodles.
Authentic Japanese Ramen Worldwide
With Japan’s desire to share cultures and traditions worldwide, it’s impressive to see how many people around the world have taken to ramen. Some countries have put their own spin on the traditional dish, while others follow the original ramen masters as closely as possible. Much like how curry, hamburgers, pizza, and pasta can be found in almost every country, ramen isn’t far behind in being accessible anywhere around the globe. Due to the increasing popularity of the dish, many will likely change a few elements to make it their own.
If you want to read more about how both traditional ramen and instant ramen are enjoyed around the world, check out our articles “Ramen Outside of Japan” and “The Facts About Instant Ramen” to see how ramen has changed and adapted to being a beloved dish worldwide.
Authentic ramen has different meanings to different people, but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of readily available ramen found worldwide is both delicious and satisfying. Whether you’re a fan of visiting ramen establishments in Japan (or in another country) or prefer heating up dried noodles to enjoy in the comfort of your own home, we can all agree that the creation and perfection of ramen is a delightful and delicious step forward for mankind.
If you want to try instant ramen straight from Japan, subscribe to our monthly instant ramen subscription box today and get your first variety box of authentic Japanese instant ramen delivered straight to your door! Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what your take is on authentic Japanese ramen and whether you think all ramens are created equal (or not)!