December 8, 2018

Food for Thought

As @wandersauce and I ate these bowls of ramen, we discussed what makes ramen so endearing. He noted that chefs are inspired to create their own versions of ramen but the same isn’t true about, say, tempura. In fact, with most Japanese dishes, there is an image of perfection that everyone aspires to. That is, the goal is located externally—an abstract concept that belongs to the culture at large. It’s a game of getting as close to it as possible.

Ramen is different. Everyone is encouraged to define his/her own goal; it’s de-centered. As with haiku, other than the basic parameters of broth and noodles, you are free to explore and experiment. The ultimate goal is to find yourself, whoever you are. There is no authentic version. I would argue that “ramen” is evaluated, not by its flavor or quality, but by a specific spirit or attitude. Tatsu Ramen’s tagline is apropos of this objective, “ramen with a soul.” I feel they successfully captured the American soul in their ramen. Their versions might not be very Japanese but they got the spirit of ramen correctly, and I think that’s what counts. The goal is to be authentic to yourself.

As a bonus, I’m appending a picture of Bendix Diner which used to be at this location in the 90s.

#ramen #japanesefood #noodles #nycramen #nycfoodie #nycfood #nyceats #nyceeeeeats