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The end-all-be-all guide to ramen featuring more than 40 recipes from Ivan Orkin, the iconoclastic New York-born owner of Tokyo's top ramen shop.
While scores of people line up outside American ramen powerhouses like Momofuku Noodle Bar, chefs and food writers in the know revere Ivan Orkin's traditional Japanese take on ramen. Ivan Ramen chronicles Orkin's journey from dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker to the chef and owner of one of Japan's most-loved ramen restaurants, Ivan Ramen. His passion for ramen is contagious, his story fascinating, and his recipes to-die-for, including the complete, detailed recipe for his signature Shio Ramen, master recipes for the fundamental types of ramen, and some of his most popular ramen variations.
Likely the only chef in the world with the knowledge and access to convey such a candid look at Japanese cuisine to a Western audience, Orkin is perfectly positioned to author what will be the ultimate English-language overview on ramen and all of its components. Ivan Ramen will inspire you to forge your own path, give you insight into Japanese culture, and leave you with a deep appreciation for what goes into a seemingly simple bowl of noodles.
As the rhythm of his name foretells, duality emanates from Orkin in a nearly oracular manner. He is of two lands: Tokyo, where his ramen has drawn raves, and his native New York, where he learned the restaurant trade at Mesa Grill and Lut ce, and where soon he will be opening a new noodle shop. He has had two wives, as we learn from this text, which is one part compelling autobiography and one part cookbook (plus a hilarious foreword from David Chang on America's inability to eat ramen properly). His signature meal, shio ramen, is a noodle soup made from two broths: chicken, and a seaweed/seafood mixture known as dashi. Orkin spends a leisurely 35 pages to explore, photograph, and dissect every component of this dish, from the chicken fat that harks back to the schmaltz he grew up with to the toasted rye noodles and the cured bamboo shoots. A half-cooked egg, sliced perfectly in two with a piece of fishing line, completes the presentation. The remaining handful of recipes tell you what to do with the leftovers (make an omelet made with dashi, wash the bamboo shoots down with a beer) or offer some ramen variations such as ago tsukemen, which is rich in roasted garlic and served cold.