Ramen vs Ramyun vs Ramyeon: Japanese vs Korean ramen

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  March 17, 2021

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Have you ever noticed the word ramen, our favorite flavorful instant noodles, be spelled in multiple different ways?

The most common written forms of the word are ramen, ramyun, and ramyeon- but do you know what the differences between the three really are?

Keep reading to find out why there are three forms of the word ‘ramen,’ where they come from, and what they represent.

Ramen vs Ramyun vs Ramyeon


Ramen is the English spelling of Japanese ramen- but it actually doesn’t mean the instant ramen noodles we’re familiar with. Ramen is a type of Japanese cuisine involving non-instant noodles in a hot broth (usually a meat base) with extra toppings such as bean sprouts, seaweed, tonkatsu (pork), garlic, spring onions, and more. It’s made from scratch and absolutely delicious.

In the West, however, this spelling of ramen is used to refer to instant ramen noodles, which is what you’re likely most familiar with. Therefore if you’re in Japan and see “ramen,” you’re likely going to find a real ramen restaurant. If you’re in the West and see “ramen,” you’ll likely find instant ramen noodles.

Also read: Japanese vs Korean ramen, the differences and eating habits

Ramyun and Ramyeon

Ramyun and ramyeon, on the other hand, are two different ways to spell the Korean word for instant ramen noodles. The reason it’s spelled differently is that you can romanize the second vowel in two different ways- u, or eo. When you say ‘ramen’ in Korea, however, it’s used to refer to the traditional Japanese non-instant ramen.

Ramyun or ramyeon usually refers to Korean-style spicy instant ramen, which is based on traditional Japanese cuisine. Ramyun often comes in cup or packet form. There are a number of globally popular Korean ramyun brands that fall into this category- Shin ramen, Jin ramen, and more.

Therefore, if you’re in South Korea or in the West and see “ramyun” or “ramyeon,” you’ll find Korean-style instant noodles, likely from a Korean brand. If you’re in South Korea and you see “ramen,” you’ll find a real Japanese ramen restaurant.

Now you know the difference between ramen, ramyun, and ramyeon! Ramen refers to Japanese ramen cuisine in Japan and South Korea, and refers to instant noodles in the West. In Korea and in the west, both ramyun and ramyeon are used to refer to Korean-style instant noodles. No matter which ramen you choose, you’re sure to be in for a tasty treat. Bon appetit!

Every month new cooking tips in your email?

Japanese recipes, cooking tips and more with the first email our FREE mini-recipe guide "Japanese with ease"


Also read: these are the different types of ramen broth you can order

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.