Italy and China which country is the real origin of noodle?

yellow pasta beside onions

The oldest noodle dish, discovered in 2002, is Chinese: it is 4000 years old. Noodle recipes found in a Babylonian culinary treatise dating back to 1700 BC. The Greeks, Romans, and Arabs consumed pasta long before Marco Polo and his trip to China at the end of the 13th century. In his book “The Travels of Marco Polo “, published in 1298, he declared that Chinese lasagna was “as good as the lasagna he had eaten so many times in Italy”?

The oldest pasta recipe appeared in a Mesopotamian culinary treatise dating from 1700 BC. That is not surprising since it was in Mesopotamia that wheat cultivation began around 8000 BC! The Mesopotamians ate sweetbreads, pasta made with wheat flour and water, grated, or crumbled in a boiling liquid. Grated pasta is the oldest known form: in Italy, there is a similar type of pasta, pasta grattugiata; in Alsace, they make Spätzle this way.

There is argument between China and Italy about who is “Real” origin of the Noodle. But we don’t know who is real origin. But based on many aspect this real origin might be neither China nor Italy. But it’s very obvious that  this two countries have developed great noodle culture in the world 

Origin of Italian noodle and  Pasta

close up photo of pasta
Photo by Kasumi Loffler on

Pasta from Antiquity 

In Greece, Rome, and the Near East, pasta produced and consumed. The Greek word laganon means a piece of dough cut into strips; from this word derives the laganum cited by Cicero. In Greco-Roman literature, laganum generally refers to a thin dough roll obtained by rolling. It can be cooked in a humid environment as well as in dry heat; poached Lagana is the ancestors of lasagna. A 4th-century Roman recipe proposes a superimposition of Lagana with different layers of a stuffing made of chicken, pork, and fish flesh, mixed with eggs and topped with a garum-based sauce (fish brine, wine, and olive oil). These “lasagnas” have the particularity of being cooked in a pie crust.

Arab-Persian pasta is a continuation of the laganum: sliced with a knife into narrow strips, like tagliatelle. Rishta and laksa cooked in a spicy and fatty meat broth; they are stewing pasta, often combined with meat (beef, lamb or chicken) and legumes (chickpeas, lentils). Historians believe that the nomadic populations of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, are at the origin of the preparation of dry pasta, inventing the grading of pasta in small tubes. Dry pasta production started in Palermo between the 9th and 11th centuries, during the Arab occupation (Sicily) from 831 to 1091. The word spaghetti comes from the Arabic language and means thread or string. The Arabs were the first to hang the noodles on clotheslines to dry them to keep them longer.

Pasta in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance 

Making pasta; illustration from the 15th century edition of Tacuinum Sanitatis

Historical sources tell us that the European sailors get their supplies of cereals but also semolina and pasta from the North African coasts. The technique of couscous well attested, in the Algerian west and Morocco from the 10th century. Undoubtedly of Berber origin, couscous uses a sieve: the dough made from durum wheat semolina mixed with water, is shaped with the fingertips for the grains to clump together; it is rolled under the palms of the hand up to the size of a pinhead and then steamed. Other forms of pasta are also known thanks to Arab-Andalusian and oriental sources, as early as the 13th century. In the Mediterranean France of the 14th century, there are several types of pasta such as laminated pasta and Crozets (a kind of shell), which would be typically Provençal. They seem to correspond to the current Savoyard “Crozets”, small square pasta served with grated cheese and butter. In the North and the Franco-Burgundian states, various types of noodles also circulate, notably Sicilian vermicelli dating back to the 15th century onwards.

Middle age picture that eating pasta

Liguria specializes in the production and export of pasta: in Naples, many houses began to produce pasta as early as the Renaissance; until the end of the 18th century, macaroni was the typical dish of the Neapolitans. Catherine de Medici made this Italian specialty known in France when she married King Henry II in 1533. Many towns on the Italian peninsula specialized in pasta production, which led Genoese manufacturers to decree in 1547 that real pasta should consist of durum wheat semolina, salt, and water. This rule of authenticity is still valid for pasta secca, dry pasta. Eggs are an indispensable additional ingredient for pasta Fresca, fresh pasta.

Pasta recipes appeared in Belgium during the Renaissance and then spread during the 17th century. In Germany (including Alsace), the tradition of pasta seems to go back to the 16th century: The Holy Roman Empire specialized in fresh egg pasta, the Nudeln (in French, noodles). The German term, attested around 1550, is borrowed by the English in 1779 and becomes noodle. The French expression is still written noodle or nudeln around 1765, in the Encyclopedia of Diderot and Alembert, then “noodles” since1767.

The myth of Marco Polo 

According to legend, Italy owes everything to Marco Polo, but historians have established very clearly that he is not responsible for the introduction of pasta into the Italian peninsula. The question of the birth of the myth is difficult to resolve: the account of Marco Polo’s travels would probably have inspired an advertiser in the 1920s, named as the real person responsible for the legend. The only reference to pasta in Marco Polo’s account is that the Chinese use wheat to make all kinds of pasta and not bread. This text describes nothing unknown to Italians and does not claim that the Venetian traveler brought Chinese pasta back to Italy.

Theory about noodle originated from China

4000 years old noodles

China is another homeland of Noodle: the tradition of pasta made from wheat is more than 1700 years old. In 2005, Chinese researchers discovered a pot of noodles back 4,000 years: they measured 50 cm, gathered together with spaghetti, made with millet and not wheat. The Lamians of the city of Guangzhou are wheat noodles prepared using a centuries-old traditional technique of stretching the dough into strips divided again and then stretched; this process is still in use in northwest China.

fossil of noodle &plate from old China(BC 700~1000)

According to some archaeologists, the origin of the noodle was from the Mesopotamian civilization, one of the first civilizations of mankind, and spread thousands of years ago along the Silk Road to East Asia. It is a common belief that wheat, or a common type of noodle made of grains, becomes a common food and begins to settle down as a food culture in China.

The main ingredient of noodles is wheat. For this reason, scholars tried to trace the history of noodles through the route of wheat, which spread from the Middle East to Turkey, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea and spread to the Alps through the Balkans. Later, it was spread to China via Central Asia.

Since then, noodles have steadily developed in China, and around the 3rd century AD, the first Arab merchants in which China acts as intermediaries between Greece have begun commercial transactions for continued trade between China, India, Africa and Europe. As a result, noodles are flowing back to China and into the Middle East and Europe.

Wheat, which had been introduced to east Asia along the Silk Road in the past, has been re-exported as a food culture.

There also similar opinion according to interview from with  Jen Lin-Liu,

“The oldest historical mention of noodles I could find appears in a dictionary from the third century A.D. in China. The earliest Chinese noodles, though, don’t appear as strands of dough — they were shaped into little bits, formed from bread dough, and thrown into a wok of boiling water. That kind of noodle, called mian pian, is still eaten in China. This was one of the most interesting pieces of research I came across — that noodles in China actually began with its tradition of bread, something that is still widely eaten across northern China.”


There is no exact evidence where the Noodle is originated but as a food culture perspective, noodles have been made our food culture better and more delicious. There is no exact evidence where the Noodle is originated, but as a food culture perspective, Noodle has been made our food culture better and more delicious. The truth is people who lived in BC 500 and people who live now, and they are all enjoying the Noodle in their life.

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