Think about Japanese food and chances are that a bowl of piping hot ramen noodles comes to mind. And why wouldn’t it? Ramen is definitely having a moment in the United States – there are a myriad of Japanese noodle shops in just about any of the country’s major hubs. It’s not unusual to see a long line form outside the latest trendy ramen joint in New York City, or to see unique and unorthodox ingredients on the menu.

Despite ramen’s newfound global presence, there is one place that has seen a dip in the dish’s popularity: Japan. That’s right – the very country of ramen's origin may be experiencing a lull. The Washington Post examines this trend, noting that ramen is no longer considered novel in Japan. A lack in originality – chefs and critics alike mention that “everything has been tried” – has contributed to a lack of passion for the iconic noodle.

Things certainly look bright here, though, for the dish only recently considered “college dorm food” by most. Specialty noodle shops continue to open at unprecedented rates and top slurp maestros – such as Ivan Orkin – are busy working on new and inventive combinations, having mastered the craft in Japan. And as long as we have a healthy helping of Orkin's signature four-cheese mazeman in front of us, we're pretty okay with all else.

Read more about ramen on Food Republic: