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Ramen, which has won the status of the national food in Japan today, actually has its roots in China. After 1871, when the Japan-China Amity Treaty was concluded, many people moved from mainland China for greener pastures and introduced ramen to Japan.
There were many Chinese restaurants in the foreign concessions in Yokohama, Kobe, or Nagasaki targeted to the Chinese people who favoured their homeland's cuisine. At that time, as most Chinese came from the Provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, the Chinese restaurants in Japan mainly served food native to those areas. Among these dishes was ramen. Nationally, the original Chinese taste was prevalent in the ramen back then.

A stallholder with Yatai (mobile raumen stands)

The Original of Tokyo raumen “Rairaiken”

Around 1900, a stallholder who is believed to be the pioneer of modern Japanese ramen started selling ramen in Yokohama's Chinatown. The ramen was not the ramen we know today. It gradually changed from Chinese noodles to Japanese style over a long period of time due to three major innovations: adding soy sauce to the salt flavoured soup, curling the noodles which had been straight, and creating Japanese broth made from various boiled dried fish. Ramen contains a lot of fat and warms the body. It was precious nourishment during the post-war era when the nation suffered from poverty. Ramen became especially popular with the introduction of instant ramen in 1958. Since then ramen has prevailed as a convenient yet affordable homemade dish.

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