The Difference: Menma vs Shinachiku Bamboo Shoots
When it comes to the topping for soy sauce-based Shoyu ramen, roast pork slices “Chashu (チャーシュー)”, small sliced white fish cake with a pink or red spiral pattern “Naruto (ナルト)”, and processed (seasoned) bamboo shoots “Menma (メンマ)” are basics.
Bamboo Shoots: Menma vs Shinachiku
Among them, Menma is also known as “Shina-Chiku (支那竹)”, and to get straight to the point, these words both refer to the same thing made by Lacto-fermenting a species of bamboo shoot called “Ma-Chiku (麻竹)”.
Menma or Shinachiku is originally a Chinese food and 99% of Japan’s domestic consumption of Menma comes from what was imported from China and other countries.
In Japan, the seasoned bamboo shoot strips mainly used in Shoyu ramen were originally called “Shina-Chiku (支那竹: literally Chinese Bamboo)”, but in its name, “Shina (支那)” is a historically used Japanese term for China, which is sometimes considered an offensive word.
In fact, in 1946, Japan received a formal objection to the use of the term Shina from the Taiwanese government, for which reason the word Menma was newly created as a replacement for Shinachiku.
In the name Menma, “Men (メン)” derives from the Japanese word meaning noodles “Men (麺)”, while “Ma (マ)” stands for “Ma-Chiku (麻竹)”, and the word Menma was named after the fact that ramen noodles are often topped with Shinachiku.
Today, the term Shinachiku isn’t often used in Japan, and in the mass media relevance, the use of the word Menma has been standardized.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia メンマ )