Chow Bella

Beach Bites: The Ramen King and I

Some people have problems with commitment. People do change after all and the person you love today may turn into a psycho hose beast tomorrow. But through the assistance of close friends or the sage advice of one's elders we work through commitment issues and find deeper connections than we thought possible. 

And then there's Andy Raskin

When we meet him in The Ramen King And I, he not only can't commit to a single relationship, he routinely cheats on his girlfriends. Just about the only thing he can concentrate on other than no-strings-attached sex is meeting Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen noodles. Somehow, Raskin believes, meeting Ando will help him fix his love life. 

Make sense?  Of course not. But think of that confusion as the spice packet in the package of chicken ramen that is this tale.

In his quest to meet Ando, Raskin takes us from his everyday life in the States to his culturally fascinating misadventures in Japan. And there's plenty of fascination for any Japanophile ranging from what it takes to get the best piece of toro you'll ever have in your life to the surgical cost of eating at a famous ramen shop. 

Ultimately the book hinges on whether or not Raskin can meet his noodle crafting idol and how the grandfather of one of Japan's most famous foodstuffs might possibly prepare Raskin for a real relationship. 

Once you've finished the book, check out Andy Raskin's blog "Ramen Advice" for secondhand philosophy from the creator of ramen noodles.