Ramen is a Japanese adaptation of Chinese wheat noodles.One theory says that ramen was first introduced to Japan during the 1660s by the Chinese neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Shunsui who served as an advisor to Tokugawa Mitsukuniafter he became a refugee in Japan to escape Manchu rule and Mitsukuni became the first Japanese person to eat ramen, although most historians reject this theory as a myth created by the Japanese to embellish the origins of ramen. The more plausible theory is that ramen was introduced by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th or early 20th century at Yokohama Chinatown.According to the record of the Yokohama Ramen Museum, ramen originated in China and made its way over to Japan in 1859.Early versions were wheat noodles in broth topped with Chinese-style roast pork.
The word ramen is a Japanese transcription of the Chinese lamian (拉麵). In 1910, a Chinese restaurant serving ramen in Yokohama's Chinatown received public praise in Japan. Until the 1950s, ramen was called shina soba ( but today chūka soba or just ramen (ラーメン) are more common, as the word " (shina, meaning "China") has acquired a pejorative connotation.
By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai offered a simple ramen dish of noodles (cut rather than hand-pulled), 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 (チャルメラ, from the Portuguese charamela) 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.
According to ramen expert Hiroshi Osaki, the first specialized ramen shop opened in Yokohama in 1910.
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