Charming short film on creating the perfect bowl of ramen


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Aside from a protein (chicken, pork, etc…), what do you add to your 25 cent brick of noodles to take it to the next level? Scallions? Mushrooms? Egg?


Tampopo is also a great Western, of the calibre of Shane, but sans the ambiguous death at the end (instead, there’s an unambiguous one approaching the end)…


Yes! Cheese as well. Wakame/Nori (seaweed). Sesame oil or gomashio. Sometimes I’ll bastardize it and steam some frozen veggies and toss them in (gasp!).


A friend of mine hipped me to this blog called “Ramen Rater”, by a guy who (wait for it) . . rates ramen.

I was lucky enough to find a couple of the instant cups from his top ten at my local Asian market, and I must say he knows his noodles. One was so good I looked forward to sipping the broth afterward.


Glad you asked:


I eat ramen because I actually like the stuff. A handful of shrooms is a good addition. I am always on the lookout for new brands & flavors, although a 25 cent packet may never rise to gourmet fare. I’d love to patronize a ramen restaurant, but there are none in the vicinity.


I love ramen.
I’ve made it, from scratch, myself. I’ve eaten the packaged stuff, and I’m always looking for the next place in town that’s doing a decent bowl.
There’s something so comfortable about a hot bowl of noodle soup. You can keep your mashed potatoes and your mac and cheese. But you’ll pry noodle soups (of all kinds!) out of my cold dead fingers.


Always remember to caress the surface of your ramen with your chopsticks to express affection.


Always remember to squeeze everything. EVERYTHING!


I love Tampopo as well as Jûzô Itami’s A Taxing Woman. I haven’t seen his other films but I was lucky enough to find those two on VHS years ago at a price I could afford to pay at the time. I had been deeply invested in the concept of craft as a lifetime devotion back then, and Tampopo really, really struck home.

I guess one is able to find his films more easily in these days of downloads and streaming video. Itami did some incredible work and I second the idea of checking out Tampopo if you’ve never seen it.

When my life and I lived in Taiwan in the 1980s we used to look for shops with the best beef noodles, which uses thicker, meatier noodles, beef and beef broth instead of pork, and toppings that aren’t as elaborate as the Japanese ramen in this short video or in Tampopo. We didn’t have the same adventures as in the film, but it’s great living in a place where cheap fast food is also real food that the makers take pride in.

More about Jûzô Itami:


I wasn’t a huge fan of A Taxing Woman. Its funny, I gather its super classic, but I just didn’t like it very much, at least compared to how much I love Tampopo. Have you by chance seen any of the Torasan movies? Hil friggin larious comedy series of movies. Mostly unknown in America I think, but far and away my favorite Japanese comedy. Its kind of like the Borat of Japanese film, since the comedy is all based on social faux pas, and of course a social faux pas says a lot about that society. The Borat comparison is a bit clumsy though, since its not nearly as extreme as Borat of course.

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