I realize I may have snubbed ramen in my ode to soba, those nutty Japanese buckwheat noodles I adore so much. That was not my intention. I love ramen, and admire how many college students, interns and picky children it’s kept alive throughout its 50-year reign as the cheapest and most instant food around. See? I’m doing it again. How to remedy this situation?
Maybe bridging a culture gap will bring about some good tidings. Japan and China have had their differences over the years (I’m sure whatever I linked that to would have been funny), but the one dish that truly brings them together is noodle soup. Ramen was originally a Chinese dish adapted by Japan, somewhat offensively referred to as shina soba (“Chinese soba”). Thanks to the post-war invention of instant noodles, ramen had become a global phenomenon by the 1980s, frequently dubbed as Japan’s most significant invention of the century. (Although I could have sworn it was the V-slicer of doom). Now that’s teamwork.
There are blogs upon blogs upon Flickr pools dedicated to dressing up the various types of fresh and instant ramen populating this world. You can order 33 of those right here, and you should. I mean, what if the world ends, all sources of concentrated sodium disappear and all that’s left is water and enough electricity to power the kettle or microwave? Alright, this is getting testy. Time for the singing of praise:
- Like butter on your corn? There’s a ramen for that.
- Manly-man Top Chef fan? There’s a ramen for that.
- More of a steak ‘n beer guy? There’s a ramen for that.
- Culture junkie? Fan of noodles? There’s a whole museum for that.
And if you’re still not in the mood, surely Japan’s other lunch offerings will appeal. Fun fact: Sumo wrestlers regularly drink 6 or more beers with each meal, lunch included. Supplement ramen’s relative lack of nutritional value with… forget it, I fold. Plus my water’s boiling.