Saturday, April 07, 2018

Rude Food

I recently saw Ramen Heads, a Japanese documentary about the world of ramen.  It's reminiscent of Jiro Dreams Of Sushi--no doubt they'll be on a double feature some day, especially since RH also features a chef who takes great pains to make the dish and is considered the best in his field.

But sushi, a dish that's been around for centuries, is part of fancy cuisine. Japanese ramen didn't come into existence until a bit over a century ago, and is simple, everyday food that became popular after World War II in a hungry, impoverished nation. In recent decades, Japanese cooks have played around with ramen and come up with numerous variation.  But though it's gotten more hip, it's still served, generally speaking, in hole-in-the-wall spaces.

But forget that.  What fascinated me is the difference in Japanese table manners.  If the movie is accurate, ramen is meant to be slurped up.  The louder the sound, the more you appreciate it.  I couldn't help but be reminded of this scene from Tampopo:


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