Ramen and La Mian - What the Difference is and Why Its So Popular

I am sure most of us have heard of ramen but did you know it started as la mian in Chinese cooking recipes? Ramen is that small packet of deep fried noodles that has been dried and packaged as a type of soup in our grocery store. It is also the main staple of many college kids diet.

La Mian Origins

There are many recipes for Chinese noodles. La mian literally translates into pulling noodles in Chinese and has one significant difference to ramen. La mian noodles are pulled and stretched to form a noodle. La mian is a staple of Chinese food and used very frequently in their dishes.

Ramen Origins

Ramen is a Japanese version of la mian that has been changed from the original Chinese cooking recipes for the Japanese pallet. The dish consists of noodles but they are cut rather than pulled and the broth they sit in has a different flavor than the Chinese broths.

Chinese Soups

The Chinese cooking recipes for la mian usually calls for beef or mutton-flavored soups. These soups, unlike the Japanese, can be compared to a generic soup. The noodles, vegetables and other flavorings are what create the dish and can vary greatly between different Chinese cooking recipes.

Japanese Soups

Japanese soups are typically made from chicken or pork stocks. Japanese soups fall into one of four main categories.

Shio - Salt soup

Tonkotsu - Pork bone soup

Shoyu - A combination of chicken and vegetable stock

Miso - Created with fermenting rice, barley, soybeans with salt and a particular type of fungus.