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La Mian vs Ramen: 3 Simple Steps to Differentiate The Two

Ramen and lamian are very different types of food.

Lamian is a Chinese noodle dish, and…

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish.

In Chinese, "la" means "to pull" and "mian" is a food product made from wheat dough including noodles.

So, what this means is lamian is literally translated into hand-pulled noodles.

For ramen, you don't hand-pull the dough. You make the dough flat, and cut it into long, thin noodle-like strands.

1. La mian is Obi-Wan and ramen is Luke

Lamian was the basis for the creation of ramen.

The origin of ramen is from Chinese noodles.

The oldest record of Chinese noodles in Japan is...

In 1697, Zhu Zhiyu treated his home town noodles to Tokugawa Mitsukuni.

Zhu Zhiyu was a scholar of Confucianism from the Ming dynasty and Edo Japan.

And Tokugawa Mitsukuni was the feudal lord of Mito, Japan.

2. They taste really different

When I was 12 years old, I went to the Chinatown in Yokohama for a field trip. 

It was my first time experiencing Chinese culture.

 I had a steamed pork bun and a noodle dish called la mian there…

3. La mian noodles are soft but ramen noodles are chewy 

Lamian noodles are a lot softer than ramen noodles.

Do you know why?

Because you use oil while you hand pull lamian.

Oil makes expanding and pulling noodles easier.

4. Ramen noodles are chewy because of kansui

This nice chewiness of ramen noodles makes me feel satisfied and content.

Ramen noodles are made of flour, kansui, and water.

Kansui is an alkaline solution (usually sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate).

Kansui makes noodles...


Chewy, and

Gives it its distinct ramen noodle flavor.

5. La mian noodles are straight but ramen noodles are wavy or straight

In addition,  lamian noodles are thinner than regular ramen noodles.

And  lamian noodles taste like udon and somen.

If you have only ever eaten ramen, and try laimian for the first time, you may think…

"Is the texture supposed to be like this?"

The noodle texture of these two noodles are actually very different!

6. La mian and ramen have different priority

In Japan, usually, the priority of elements of a ramen dish goes like this...

Soup > Noodles > Toppings

For example:

When you choose a ramen shop for meal time, you start considering the ramen’s broth.

Shoyu, shio, tonkotsu, miso,


Fish base, clam base, chicken base, pork bone base etc..


For Chinese noodles, priority goes like this...

Toppings > Noodles > Soup

Take a look at the 5 biggest Chinese noodle types:

Hui mian, dandan noodles, hot dry noodles, zhajiangmian, and knife-cut noodles.

Only hui mian and knife-cut noodles come with soup.

I know many types of Chinese noodles with a delicious soup base, but the taste of the soup usually comes from their toppings.

I can say the concept of dashi(soup stock) is more appreciated in Japan.

So, the priority of the soup differs between ramen and lamian. 

Due to Covid, a lot of good ramen restaurants have closed

It makes me feel very angry.

I used to eat ramen out frequently,

But in this situation, 

Ramen shops have started to shorten the hours, limit the number of customers, or even closed their shops.

It has affected the industry so much.

I am afraid good ramen will be gone

But meanwhile, you still can enjoy ramen in the comfort of your own home.

Here are some of my recommendations for ramen lovers.

1. Sapporo Ichiban Shio Flavor


In truth, Sapporo Ichiban delivers a good quality shio ramen experience.

Actually, it is very difficult to find good shio ramen.

Do you know why?

Because it is very difficult to make it since it is very simple.

There are many good shoyu and miso flavored instant noodles out there.

But I feel specifically, the shio flavor market is monopolized by Sapporo Ichiban.

Think about this for a moment having good shio ramen for your dinner with your favorite ramen toppings.

Now, you want some, don’t you?

2. Nissin Raoh Shoyu Flavor


It is nearly impossible to make restaurant quality noodles at home without the right tools and equipment.

How can you beat that?

Using Raoh’s shoyu flavour will help you achieve this easily. This is top-notch ramen hands down!

One pinnacle of instant noodles is the soy sauce flavor. It is expensive compared to regular ones but let me tell you, it deserves every single penny.

In a nutshell, I loved every bit of it.

...And I am sure you will too.

3. The problem here is that no toppings come with these packets.

Here are some topping options and recipes for you.

Green onion

4. Have you ever faced these issues...

A lack of large, high-quality soup bowl sets at home?

Are you still struggling with...

😢 ...small bowls that aren’t large enough for soups, noodles and toppings.

😢 ...spillage every time you eat out of your bowl.

😢 ...low-quality tableware and utensils that don’t compliment your food.

Look no further, 

Our best-selling bowls are here to fix all the issues you face with small, inefficient tableware.

After struggling with spillage and leakage during dinner time, 

We decided to introduce APEX S.K’s large soup bowls to the market.

Want to hear why some people absolutely love our ramen bowls?

"These are perfect for homemade ramen soup nights! The bowls we have at home are not large enough and my wife has been trying to look for larger bowls. I'm so glad I stumbled upon these. They made a great Christmas gift for the whole family. Everybody was so excited and we can't wait to put them to use on our next ramen night."

"Amazing quality! They are very durable. I dropped it from standing height to test if they would break, but no dents or anything."

"The shape, the color, and the overall appearance of the bowl was exactly what I was looking for - the shape, the color"

Check our sets on Amazon..


About the Author

Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".

"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.

Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.

If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.

Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.

I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.

My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)

Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.

My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.

Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."

Did you know that we offer more than just a ramen blog?

We also have an exclusive collection of ramen-inspired t-shirts and hoodies that any true noodle lover will adore.

Head over to ApexRamen and check it out for yourself.

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