Likening the ramen experience to a lunch time quickie
American ramen restaurants are missing something essential to the traditional Japanese experience.
Eating ramen is supposed to be like meeting a mediocre prostitute for a quickie during your lunch break: rushed, an in-and-out escape you hesitatingly take from your corporate 9 to 5 to your manager's chagrin, only to return to your dimly lit cubicle with stains on your shirt and a surprisingly deep feeling of satisfaction.
The only way to get remotely close to this experience is by eating ramen at the bar, which is where I sat with my sister last night. She was getting off from a long shift working front of house, so we weren't exactly in the mood to take our time. The ramen was better than I deserved, considering I'm unemployed and didn't do much with my day. I had velvety shoyu ramen, with chashu pork that tasted of sweet charcoal on the ground of a campfire left behind, and a dark broth that had the texture of Syrah, with chewy noodles tangled imperfectly around my chop sticks.
That bowl of ramen served its purpose: efficiency and utility.
Thumbnail image: Getty (please excuse stock photos while I await my new camera in the mail)