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Ramen , like somen , soba and udon , are a distinct type of Japanese noodle . The noodle soup made from it is also called ramen . The dish originally comes from China , but was adopted, adapted and further developed by Japanese cuisine in the 19th century . In Japan, ramen is offered in special restaurants and eateries that specialize in selling these noodle soup dishes. Outside Japan and Asia Ramen are mainly as a snack or industrially produced schnellzubereitete Instant noodle soups known.


The “simple” main course ramen is one of the most important dishes in Japan that would fall into the fast food category in Europe . In Tokyo alone there are over 5000 ramen bars, and in all of Japan there are more than 200,000 ramen bars. These restaurants can appear in the most varied of variants. Thus one finds in most major Japanese cities besides the classic ramen-ya, which are comparable to normal restaurants, including Yatai ( 屋台 ) said mobile stalls and Tachiguiya ( 立ち食い屋 ) Standing mentioned snacks . Many of these ramen restaurants have their own, often secret, recipe. This recipe is also mostly strongly regional. Places in Japan known for their ramen are Sapporo (Miso-Ramen), Asahikawa , Kitakata (Shoyu), Sano (Shoyu), Ogikubo in Tokyo (Shoyu), Takayama , Wakayama , Onomichi , Hakata in Fukuoka (Tonkotsu), Kumamoto (Tonkotsu) ).

In recent times, attempts have been made to expand the range with new variations.

International Ramen restaurants are usually a trend regarded restaurants, also in Germany , Austria and Switzerland open up more and more restaurants that have specialized in this Japanese dish. Asian fast food bars are often referred to as noodle bars or ramen bars , but rarely have noodle soups on offer, nor do they even follow the concept of their original origin.

Outside of Japan, instant ramen - instant noodle soups - are far more important than freshly made ramen. In 2007 around 97.9 billion packs were sold worldwide, the largest consumers being China , Indonesia , Japan and the USA .


The term ramen ( ラ ー メ ン , 拉 麺 rāmen ) is a Chinese loan word in the Japanese language . The Japanese pronunciation is derived from the Chinese Lāmiàn ( 拉麵  - "pulled noodles"). According to other theories, the term can be traced back to other Chinese words, including Lǎomiàn ( 老 麵 - old noodles ) or Lǔmiàn ( 鹵麵 - a noodle dish in a sauce thickened with starch). The current term did not become popular until late in postwar Japan in the second half of the 20th century. The name Shina-Soba ( 支那 そ ば ) was common until the early 1950s . Instead, the term Chūka soba ( 中華 そ ば 'Chinese soba' ) or Nankin soba ( 南京 そ ば 'Chinese soba' ) is mostly used in Japan alongside ramen , as the historical name Shina ( 支那 ) C for China today has a pejorative connotation in Japan in the Chinese , especially in China and Chinese communities worldwide.

C. Historical writing, obsolete today. The term "Shina" - 支那 or シナ "is a historical Lehn designation for China from the Sanskrit The use of the stand-alone concept." Shina "- 支那 " with the kanji notation is today both in China and in Japan as a pejorative or offensive. Due to abuse and offensive use of the term at the time of World War II on the part of Japan this designation is for China the world today in the Chinese communities burdened, especially in the countries concerned, historically.



The dough for most ramen consists of the basic ingredients wheat flour, salt and water and kansui ( か ん 水 , 鹼水 ' alkaline water ' ). The addition of Kansui , with its high content of potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate as well as traces of phosphoric acid , gives the noodles their special yellowish color and specific taste. Sometimes eggs are used instead of kansui , but there are also noodles completely without kansui and eggs.

A total of four basic types are distinguished: Kansōmen ( 乾燥 麺 'dried ramen' ), namamen ( 生 麺 'fresh ramen' ), mushimen ( 蒸 麺 'steamed ramen' ) and insutanto ramen ( イ ン ス タ ン ト ・ ラ ー メ ン 'instant ramen' ). While the fresh ramen should be used on the day of manufacture if possible or only stored briefly in the refrigerator, some instant ramen can be stored for several months. Ramen comes in different shapes, such as thick or thin noodles, long and short noodles, or as smooth, tangled, ribbon-like noodle shapes.


Depending on the base and method of preparation of the broth used, different basic types of ramen are distinguished:

  • Shoyu ramen ( 醤 油 ラ ー メ ン ) is based on a broth that is mainly seasoned with Japanese soy sauce . The broth is usually brownish and clear. This variation is the most common type of ramen in Tokyo.
  • In miso ramen ( 味噌 ラ ー メ ン ), the miso - a paste made from fermented soybeans - determines the taste. Miso ramen are often seasoned with chillies . Since the production of miso is subject to regional differences, the broth for miso ramen can look very different.
  • For Shio ramen ( 塩 ラ ー メ ン ), salt plays the main role as the flavor base of the broth and gives this type of ramen its name. Often, however, the broth for Shio ramen is made using fish and seafood broth. The broth is usually light and clear.
  • Tonkotsu ramen ( 豚 骨 ラ ー メ ン ) is a ramen variation that can be found primarily on the island of Kyūshū in southwestern Japan . The whitish, cloudy broth, which is made by boiling pork bones for a long time, is striking. This process releases large amounts of gelatin, which gives the broth a special creaminess. Tonkotsu broth gels when cold.

These four variations represent only the most common basic types; there are also countless combinations and extensions of the basic recipes. The Karē ramen is a “younger” trend flavor in Japan. Various Japanese cities claim to be the origin of this local dish, such as the city of Katori in Chiba Prefecture . In contrast, citizens of Muroran in Hokkaidō are said to have invented this dish in 1965. The city of Sanjō in Niigata prefecture is said to have known this dish for over 80 years.

  • Kare -Ramen ( カレー·ラーメン ) is a variation of the Tonkotsu Ramen with a mild curry flavor Japanese style. The base of the broth consists mainly of a decoction of pig bone, served with various side dishes, for example, Wakame -Algen, bean sprouts and roasted pork after Cantonese style - Chāshū .

Side dishes

In addition to different noodle variations and the broth, the side dishes used are a decisive feature of ramen. All sorts of meat and fish, vegetables, fried eggs , spicy boiled eggs - such as sole eggs - and even dumplings and much more are used. Wan Tan or Gyōza , for example, are used as a side dish . Some of the usual side dishes are nori ( 海苔 or の り 'roasted spicy seaweed ' ), negi ( ネ ギ ' spring onions ' ), wakame ( ワ カ メ , 若 布 , 和 布 ' brown algae of the species Undaria pinnatifida ' ), Shinachiku ( 支那 竹 'pickled bamboo shoots ') ) Umeboshi ( 梅干し , salty Ume plum ' ), Sake ( , tuna ' ), kamaboko ( 蒲鉾 , pureed, pressed into shape, steamed fish meat ' ), Kakuni ( 角煮 , かくに , braised pork' ), Yakibuta ( 焼豚 , pork ham ' ), chashu ( チャーシュー or 叉焼 , grilled or boiled pork after Cantonese style' ), spinach , cabbage , Takana ( タカナ , 高菜 , Breitblättriger mustard ' ), maize , beans , sprouts , shiitake -Mushrooms ( シ イ タ ケ , 椎 茸 ), kikurage mushrooms ( キ ク ラ ゲ , 木耳 ' Judas ear ' ) etc.


Ramen in Japanese cuisine


Ramenya - ラ ー メ ン 屋
札幌 に と り の 味噌 ラ ー メ ン KEYAKI 2012 (7995060466) .jpg
Typical ramen bar, Sapporo 2012
“Hakata-Fūryū Akihabara” ramen restaurant in Sotokanda 3-chōme, -26 May 2015.jpg
Dining in a ramen , Akihabara 2015

The origin of the ramen can be found in Chinese cuisine , but the dish has been adapted to Japanese cuisine over the years. One theory for the introduction of Chinese noodles goes back to the head of the daimyat Mito Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628–1701), for whom the Chinese scholar Zhu Zhiyu (1600–1682) is said to have prepared noodles, who in ancient Japan was a political refugee from the imperial ones officials of the Qing took refuge. However, many Japanese historians deny this theory in order to underline the Japanese origin of the food. However, the actual spread only began with the Meiji period (1868–1912), about 200 years later. The other theory about the origin of the ramen in Japan is said to have been introduced by Chinese immigrants in Yokohama's Chinatown in the late 19th century in the early 20th century , but it sounds just as plausible. According to the records of the Yokohama Ramen Museum , the noodle dish found its way from China to Japan in 1859. The first ramen of this period were wheat noodles with roasted pork in the Chinese style as toppings ( チ ャ ー シ ュ ー メ ン or 叉 焼 麺 chāshū · men ). (see also the origin and etymology of karate ) At this point the taste of the ramen adapted more and more to Japanese habits. At that time, however, Shina- Soba ( 支那 そ ば - "Chinese Soba") was the common name.

20th century

In 1910, a Japanese opened the first specialized Ramen-ya Rairaiken ( 来 々 軒 ) in Japan in the Asakusa district of Tokyo - in the Taitō district - with twelve employed Cantonese chefs from Yokohama's Chinatown who catered for the Japanese guests. After the Second World War - more precisely the Pacific War (1937–1945) - the popularity of this dish rose again because, on the one hand, flour imports from the USA lowered the price of flour and, on the other hand, many Japanese soldiers returned from China and East Asia and became familiar with the cuisine there were. With the end of the war time began ramen-ya -called fast food where ramen noodles were served.

On hot summer days, ramen is also eaten in a cold version ( hiyashi soba 冷 や し 蕎麦 'cold soba' ). Despite the name, this dish is not made from soba - buckwheat flour noodles, but rather from ramen - ordinary wheat noodles.

Ramen in other Asian cuisines

Kimchi ramen Paris.jpg
Korean Kimchi -Ramyun - 김치 라면 , Paris 2006
Fresh ramen noodles.  (16077978467) .jpg
Hand drawn Chinese “Lāmiàn” - 拉麵 , UK 2015


Soups similar to ramen cooked in Japan can be found in many other Asian cuisines. The best example of this are the Korean ramyeon ( 라면 , often also ramyun , see Shin Ramyun ), which are generally spiced with a lot of chilli and are therefore much hotter than Japanese ramen. Gimchi ( 김치 , also Kimchi ), cabbage with chilli preserved by fermentation , is one of the most common side dishes in Korean cuisine and is often used as an accompaniment to ramyeon. But dumplings such as the Korean mandu , tteok or cheese are popular accompaniments or garnishes for ramyun in Korea . Korean-style ramen is also found in Japan , which is due to the fact that Korean-born Japanese are the largest ethnic minority in Japan.


In the historical country of origin, China, you can find both instant ramen and freshly prepared noodle soups ( 湯麵  /  汤面 , tāngmiàn , Jyutping tong 1 min 6  - "analogously: noodles in broth ") with industrially produced noodles or hand-drawn lāmiàn ( 拉麵  /  拉面 , also 手 拉麵  /  手 拉面 ), the variety of which varies regionally due to different eating habits in the different regions of China . Noodles that are similar to those used in ramen are mainly found in fried noodle dishes such as Chǎomiàn (often also Chow Mein , see Mie noodles ), which are similar to the Japanese yakisoba . In the Japanese restaurants of China, “Japanese style ramen” is referred to as rìshì lāmiàn - 日 式 拉麵  /  日 式 拉面 - or rìběn lāmiàn - 日本 拉麵  /  日本 拉面  - “Japanese ramen” - and often with Japanese tempura or yakitori dishes served. Interestingly, it is preferred in Japan for Ramengericht however, rather Karaage or gyoza as a side dish.


The Vietnamese cuisine has a noodle soup called phở whose noodles and side dishes are cooked only by scalding with hot broth directly in Essgefäß. The noodles used are ribbon noodles made from rice flour. A direct connection to ramen is not known.

Ramen as a ready-made meal

Ramen - ready meal
JAXA Space food Ramen (Soy sauce) .jpg
Ramen - space travel , JAXA 2009
Vite Ramen, Vegan White Miso & Roasted Soy Sauce Chicken.jpg
Ramen - block form in a bag, 2020
신라면 (봉지면) 구성품 .jpg
Ramyun - disc shape in a bag, 2016
Singapore Curry Flavored Noodles, -Mar.  2011 a.jpg
Curry ramen - in cups, 2011

The first ready-to-eat ramen meal was brought to the market in 1958 as Chicken Ramen in Japan by Nissin Food Products . The Japanese entrepreneur Momofuku Andō , who was president of the company until his death on January 5th, 2007, is considered to be the inventor of instant noodle soup . In the first year the company sold 13 million packs, and in the second year it was 60 million. The noodles of the first instant ramen were pre-seasoned and there was no seasoning mixture that had to be added. The product was advertised with the slogan “Just add hot water and wait two minutes”. At first, instant ramen were about six times more expensive than a comparable product made with fresh pasta. But together with other instant products, such as instant coffee , the noodle soups became more and more popular. The variety of products offered increased with increasing popularity, so that soon other traditional noodle dishes such as yakisoba or wontons were available as an instant versions.

Even today, almost all noodles in instant ramen are preserved through a deep-frying process . The fresh noodles are dipped in hot oil so that the water they contain evaporates and the noodles are dry after the oil has drained off. The low water content (<10%) prevents the spread of microorganisms and thus a long shelf life without preservatives is achieved. Since the late 1960s, however, there has also been a method of making ramen durable without deep-frying. These non-fry ramen are dried by a treatment in hot air, which increases the shelf life. Since the taste of the pasta suffers during this process, this loss must be compensated for by adding to the spice mixture.

The first Instantramen outside Japan was in 1963 by the South Korean company SamyangFoods in cooperation with the Japanese company Myojo Foods Co. produced. In 1966, the Lotte Food Company (since 1978 Nong Shim ) started another non-Japanese instant ramen production in South Korea . The company is still the largest Korean producer of instant noodle soups and has large market shares in Japan and the USA. Nong Shim is best known for its Shin Ramyun ( 신라면 , RR shin ramyeon ) brand, which has been produced since October 1986 , which is ramen in a spicy beef broth.

In 1971 the company Nissin again presented another new development by the company president Andō Momofuku, which expanded the ramen market: Instead of selling the individual ingredients in a plastic bag , the noodles and spices were packed in a plastic cup that could also serve as a food container. Since Nissin Cup Noodles cannot be cooked like other instant noodles, but only scalded with boiling water, the wheat flour is partly replaced by potato starch . This ensures that the noodles are cooked even without long cooking times. The idea of ​​the Cup Noodles - usually called Cup Ramen in Japan - was also a great success and was adopted by other manufacturers - not just noodle soups - in South Korea only ten years later (November 1981 by Nong Shim).

Larger portions are not offered in cups, but in bowls and can be found under the name Bowl Noodles . In Japan, more cup and bowl ramen are now sold than those packed in plastic bags. (As of 2004 61.6%)

After fresh udon could be bought as ready-made food in Japan at the end of the 1980s , ready-made dishes with fresh ramen, also known as nama , were presented and sold a short time later . However, since the shelf life is far below that of dry instant ramen, this variety of instant ramen is of little importance outside of Japan.

The first instant ramen in the USA were Top Ramen from Nissin , which were introduced there in 1970. There they are now very widespread and cheap, so that they are often used as a synonym for simple food prepared by students, with a negative impact . From the USA, the products also reached other western countries, including the German-speaking area. While many instant ramen from Asian countries of origin can only be found in Asian shops , there is also a small selection of instant ramen, some of which are adapted to the market, in the assortment of large supermarkets. These are mostly the products of the Top Ramen range from Nissin , but Demae Ramen or Cup Noodles from the same manufacturer are also offered. These instant rams are not imported from Japan, but are produced in the company's European branches in Germany and Hungary (until 2004: the Netherlands). European companies do not offer instant ramen, there are only instant noodle soups, the taste of which is imaginatively referred to as "Asian" for advertising purposes, such as the products from the Magic Asia series by Nestlé brand Maggi (formerly sold as Asia noodle snack ). Since Maggi can be found on the market with different products around the world, it is not surprising that Maggi instant noodles can also be found in parts of East Asia, especially Singapore and Malaysia .

The first ramen for space were also made by the Nissin company. Together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a soup has been developed since 2001 that meets the requirements of space food. The first use of the space ramen was the shuttle flight STS-114 of the space shuttle Discovery in July and August 2005, in which the Japanese Noguchi Sōichi took part. Shoyu ramen , miso ramen , curry ramen and tonkotsu ramen were available as flavors .

Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen from South Korean producer Samyang Foods became an internet phenomenon because of its spiciness. People competed with the instant ramen to see who can hold out longer or who can eat them at all.

Canned ramen

In addition to normal products of instant ramen in plastic packaging made from bags, cups and bowls, there are also isolated packaged ramen in cans made of metal as ready meals in Japan . A local restaurant in the Akihabara district of Tokyo produces ready-made ramen industrially as an instant meal and sells it in vending machines with a keep-warm function. Customers can simply buy the ready-made food with cutlery from the vending machine - ramen kan ( ら ー め ん 缶 German 'Dosenramen' , English Can Ramen ) - and eat them immediately without adding hot water. The few flavors include tonkotsu and curry flavors .

Health aspects

The Chinese restaurant syndrome is often mentioned in connection with ramen, since instant ramen in particular are usually spiced with a relatively high amount of monosodium glutamate ( E621 ). However, there is no actual evidence of this intolerance in the sense of evidence-based medicine (see Glutamate intolerance ).

Ramen in the media

Film, literature and art

The Japanese film Tampopo by director Jūzō Itami from 1985 is probably the best-known work in which ramen play a central role. In episodes that fit into the main plot, the film shows the importance of food in the lives of different people. Even if this film gave Ramen a big boost in its image, it also caused some misunderstandings. For example, there is no ritual on how to eat ramen comparable to the tea ceremony . However, the viewer of the scene becomes fully aware of this when he understands the ironic humor of the old man, who is very sensitive to an overzealous young man (who wants to learn the secrets of consuming ramen).

Another film that is dedicated to the subject of ramen is the US film The Ramen Girl by director Robert Allan Ackermann from 2008. It is about a young American woman, played by Brittany Murphy , who comes to Tokyo and does the job of Wants to learn ramen cook.

Ramen Teh is a Japanese-Singaporean-French film directed by Eric Khoo that premiered at the 2018 Berlinale.

Ramen - often written RAmen - is also the traditional closing formula of all prayers to the flying spaghetti monster , the deity of a religious community founded by Bobby Henderson in June 2005 as a satire against creationists .

Anime and Manga

References to ramen can be found in many Japanese anime and manga . In the manga Kinnikuman , for example, a character named Ramenman appears, who became so popular that a separate manga series was dedicated to him. Even Naruto Uzumaki , the main character of the globally successful manga series Naruto , favorite food miso chashu-Ramen ( 味噌チャーシュー麺 ). Likewise, the main character Inu Yasha from the anime of the same name prefers to eat ramen.

In well-known manga and anime series such as Dr. Slump or lupine , the characters in it often eat ramen due to the quick preparation and low budget. In the kitchen cupboard of the “brilliant” inventor and scientist Senbei Norimaki from Dr. Slump as the main food is usually filled to the brim with instant ramen - in cup form. Inspector Zenigata von Lupine mostly feeds on the numerous cheap cup noodles - instant ramen in the form of a cup, which he has brought with him, since he is mostly on the road and only has a paltry expense account. In the 2013 manga (anime) Rāmen Daisuki Koizumi-san ( English Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles ), the genres Gourmet , Comedy and His , the food ramen in its prepared variety becomes the main theme of the story about the protagonist Koizumi-san . Various dishes with self-made ramen noodles in the manga and anime series Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma were discussed as a food.

Ramen in the museum

Since 1994 the " Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum " ( 新 横 浜 ラ ー メ ン 博物館English Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum ) has been located in Yokohama , in the Shin-Yokohama district of the Kōho-ku district , in which a part of the city from the time in the 1950s. Among other things, you can see famous ramen-ya - ramen bars where the respective ramen can be tasted. The museum is located near Shin-Yokohama station and can be reached in a few minutes on foot.

In 2011, the second museum about ramen that has been instant noodles Museum Yokohama ( カップヌードルミュージアム横浜 English Cupnoodles Museum Yokohama ) - officially Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum Yokohama ( 安藤百福発明記念館横浜 , Momofuku Ando's invention Memorial Museum Yokohama ' ), in the district of Naka -ku from Yokohama opened. The interactive museum covers several floors with the history and invention of the Japanese instant noodle soup and its inventor Momofuku Ando. In the so-called "noodles bazaar " - English Noodles Bazaar - you can on the "way of the noodles in the world" - English World Noodles Road - follow Momofuku Ando's search for the origin and taste of the noodles themselves and in eight countries stations this taste and taste. The museum is located close to the coast and can be easily reached via the subway line 3 of the Blue Line at the Minatomirai or Bashamichi subway stations - in the immediate vicinity of the interchange and Sakuragichō train station .


  • Katarzyna J. Cwiertka: Modern Japanese Cuisine. Food, Power and National Identity. Reaction Books, London 2006, ISBN 978-1-86189-298-0 (English, full text in the Google book search).
  • Ron Konzak: The Book of Ramen. Lowcost Gourmet Meals Using Instant Ramen Noodles. Turtleback, Madison (Wisconsin) 1995, ISBN 1-883385-14-8 (English, preview in Google Book Search - old Chinese proverb from northern China).
  • Ivan Orkin, Chris Ying: Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint. Ten Speed ​​Press, Berkeley 2013, ISBN 978-1-60774-447-4 (English, preview in Google Book Search - contributor: David Chang, cookbook).
  • George Solt: Untold History of Ramen. How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze. (=  California Studies in Food and Culture. ). University of California Press, Berkeley 2014, ISBN 978-0-520-27756-4 (English, WorldCat - review by Ariel Knoebel, September 2015; PDF file, 274 kB).

See also

Web links

Commons : Ramen  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Ramen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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  2. Kodansha (Ed.): Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan Vol. 9 . 1st edition. Kodansha , Tokyo , New York 1983, ISBN 978-0-87011-626-1 , pp.  283 (Japanese, Internet Archive ).
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  27. !!! - Cupnoodles Museum - 安藤 百福 発 明 記念 館. In: www.cupnoodles-museum.jp. Retrieved July 23, 2020 (English, Japanese, Cupnoodles Museum Yokohama).
  28. ^ Cupnoodles Museum. ( PDF file; 2.6 MB) In: www.cupnoodles-museum.jp. Retrieved July 23, 2020 .
  29. About. In: www.cupnoodles-museum.jp. Retrieved July 23, 2020 (Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean).
  30. Map & Directions. In: www.cupnoodles-museum.jp. Retrieved July 23, 2020 (Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean).