ISSN : 0023-3900
This paper is an attempt to use Korean ramyeon to examine some of the major issues in the study of food and culture. In Japan, as in Korea, ramen and ramyeon not only came to find loyal consumers and occupy significant places in the food culture of both countries, but also began to cross national boundaries to find fans and markets in China and other countries. The Chinese noodle has come home, after a hundred-year-long voyage to and from Japan via Korea. Three points will be made. Firstly, Korean ramyeon has become a separate kind of global food, quite different from Japanese ramen. Ramyeon in Korea means “instant noodle,” while ramen in Japan generally refers to noodles sold in ramen restaurants as well as instant noodle. Second,Korean ramyeon is a class confuser that, instead of delineating and reinforcing class distinctions, seems to confuse and modify them. Third, I propose to introduce the concept of “ramyeonization.” This process is found in the increase of new forms of instant food sold in plastic packages, and also involves the dominance of hot and spicy taste in Korean cuisine. Further,ramyeonization involves individualization and fragmentation of meals and the resultant impact on family and society at large.
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