Menma vs Shinachiku : What is the Difference?

When it comes to the topping for shoyu ramen or soy sauce based ramen, sliced roast pork “chashu (チャーシュー)”, small white fish cake with a pink or red spiral pattern “naruto (ナルト)”, and processed bamboo shoots “menma (メンマ)” are basics.

Menma or Shinachiku Bamboo Shoots

Shoyu Ramen

Among them, menma is also known as “shina-chiku (支那竹)”, and to get straight to the point, these words 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 is what was imported from China and other countries.

Menma or Shinachiku Bamboo Shoots

The processed bamboo shoots were originally called “shina-chiku (支那竹)” in Japan, which literally means Chinese bamboo in Japanese.

Actually, in the name, “Shina (支那)” is the 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, and 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)”.

Actually, the word menma was named after the fact that ramen noodles are often topped with the bamboo shoots.

Now the term shinachiku isn’t often used by us Japanese, and in the mass media relevance, the use of the word menma is standardized.

(Reference Page : Wikipedia メンマ )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: