The (short) history – Ramen Noodles


Go ahead, pop one in the microwave right now, it’ll be ready by the time you finish reading this.

By Alexander Quebec

If you ask someone to name some uniquely Japanese foods, the first word might be sushi; However, ask them for a second one, the 2nd word might be Ramen. Whether its from a stand or a high end restaurant, a prepacked, just add hot water supermarket staple to something made from scratch, Ramen’s popularity overshadows almost any other soup or noodle dish worldwide. Today, we give you a short history of Ramen noodles.


The noodles that would later become Ramen make their way from China to Japan via Chinese tradesman. Many historians can’t agree on a specific date or even how recent this occurred, but the consensus is that the noodles had to have come from China.


Rai-Rai Ken in Tokyo is opened by a former customs agent who worked in Yokohama’s Chinatown. Hiring Chinese cooks to make what was then called Shina Soba (Chinese Soba Noodles). The noodles become popular as a blue collar dish due to their convenience and low price. Later, in 1937, another restaurant, Senryo, opens up in Tokyo, the same year Japan invaded Manchuria. Instantly, The dish became synonymous with patriotism, as Senryo is a synonym for the word Occupation. By the end of World War II, however, Ramen’s popularity diminishes due to food shortages and restrictions on restaurants.


Taiwanese-Japanese businessman Momofuku Ando (pictured left) creates instant ramen after witnessing flash frying of tempura at his home. At the time, it was considered a luxury item, costing over ¥35. in 1971, Mr. Ando would go on to create his most well-known invention ever, Nissin Cup of Noodles, utilizing a watertight Styrofoam cup containing his flash-fried noodles. The instant cup variety of noodles arrive in America in 1973.
In the time it took for you to microwave your instant noodle cup, you’ve learned a bit about the history of the stuff inside. So what do you think? Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources. – The Messy History of Ramen – Ramen

The New Yorker – The History of the Ramen Noodle

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