Upon hearing of this BON APPETIT video cringe inducingly-titled ‘You’re Eating Ramen Wrong,’ I so very much wanted to create an article with a headline that read “Fuck This Asshat Telling Me I’m Eating Ramen Wrong” or “Fuck Off Bon Appetit, Hack Videos Were 2013.” All of that would have been unfair, considering I hadn’t even watched the video yet, nor should I ever be the one to poke fun at ridiculous headlines. Also, either of those routes would have furthered me being institutionally ignorant.
But damnit if this guy “Ivan Orkin” aka “Ivan Ramen” in the video doesn’t sound credible as fuck.
A little digging, and of course I’m the stupid one for ever questioning the validity of this video or Ivan’s prolific ramen journey. His Instagram is littered with 40K+ avid followers who slurp every last post he puts up. He’s been profiled and chronicled everywhere that matters. This guy doesn’t sound credible, he is credible.
The colorful back story on his website makes me feel like I want to apprentice for him until my hands fall off. He’s a self-described “Jewish Kid from Long Island,” got his degree in Japanese from the University of Colorado Boulder and moved to Japan shortly after.
Fast forward some years, after a culinary education back in America, he found his way back to Japan to do the unthinkable — opening a Ramen Shop in Tokyo. Yes. A white dude from Long Island opening a Ramen shop in Tokyo.
The place was called “Ivan Ramen,” because, why the fuck wouldn’t you name your Ramen shop so blatantly non-Japanese? Stand out like a sore thumb among a sea of ramen joints? Marketing. Genius.
Then his concept blew up. His shop was not just a “good foreign-owned Ramen joint,” it became one of the top Ramen places in Tokyo. With this momentum, he opened a second shop named Ivan Ramen Plus (also in Tokyo) in 2010, again with the amazing naming skills. Then between the years of 2012 and 2013 he opened two Ramen shops in NYC, one called Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop (MINTY name!) and 50-seat joint called Ivan Ramen in New York’s Lower East Side.
Wait, I almost forgot that we were here to talk about how we’re eating ramen wrong:
Are we taking too long to eat ramen here in the states?
The video covers the good stuff about ramen, everything from dudes in Tokyo eating a bowl of ramen in 4 minutes while it’s hot, to some NYC ramen slurpers taking between 30-40 minutes, the taste comes in the heat and in the settings in which they’re enjoying it.
Do I have too much ramen between my sticks?
I’m definitely guilty of being the dude who picks up way more ramen between my chopsticks than I need to. Sometimes I just feel so skilled in my chopsticks prowess that I feel obligated to pick up as much ramen as possible between my sticks.
Ivan reminds me that you don’t eat a steak by putting the entire flank up to your mouth, taking a bite, and letting the remnants fall back to the plate…so why would you do that with your ramen?
Thank you for putting me on game Ivan, and leaving me utterly check-mated for judging a book by its YouTube video cover image. Can’t wait to check out your restaurants next time i’m in NYC, and hopefully I’ll eat ramen in a way that I can enjoy it even more than I already do.