Tampopo & The Ramen Fetish
You’ll have noticed that Kanako has never added a Ramen recipe to this blog. This scene, from the hilarious 80s Ramen cult comedy Tampopo, pretty much explains why:
A seemingly simple noodle soup with pork and a couple of vegetables, it turns out the intricacies of making a perfect bowl of Ramen contain multitudes. As the dish’s sprawling Internet following suggests, Ramen is the focus of some decidedly weird fetishism in Japan (and beyond). Particularly in Tokyo, Ramen draws a level of obsessive attention-to-detail that all but bars amateurs from even attempting it.
To make a long story short, Ramen is not home cooking. Unless you’re a pro, this is a dish best reserved for when you’re dining out.
Tampopo, by the way, is great fun. Though the way-over-the-top Ramen stuff is front and center, the film really is a must-see for Japanese foodies of all stripes – scenes lovingly send up everything from Rice omelette making to Beijing duck skin pancakes to Europeans’ incomprehensible aversion to making a slurping noise as they eat pasta.
Do rent it if you get a chance. But do be warned, while most of it is quite good natured, some of the sexier scenes stray over from merely offbeat to downright disturbing.