Tokyo Quest: Ramen 101

Tokyo Quest: Ramen 101

Take this quick course in the art of ordering and slurping the wildly popular noodle soup to appreciate what all the fuss is about. (NYT)

Ramen, the humble microwave lunch-in-a-cup noodles for many American office workers, is a surprising culinary star in Japan. As part of his Frugal Traveler series, Matt Gross of the New York Times discovers that, in Tokyo, ramen is not just a soup, but a mania — inspiring books, movies, and two-hour lines outside the most popular ramen restaurants. Gross attributes ramen’s popularity to the fact that it’s cheap, simple… and delicious.

As in many things Japanese, there is an art to preparing, ordering and eating ramen, including, for Westerners, recognizing the contents of your bowl. The ingredients are almost limitless, but usually feature a meat broth with assorted vegetables, seaweed, and bits of meat or tofu. Successful ramen restaurateur Ivan Orkin from New York explains that a good bowl of ramen will be scrupulously prepared, have a pleasing balance of broth, noodles and toppings, and will be served very, very hot. It should be eaten in a manner your mother may not approve of, “slurping” the noodles continuously while shoveling them into your mouth with chopsticks.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 4:01

By Matt Gross and Fan Bu