As a ramen maniakku or enthusiast myself, I reread Lucky Peach‘s debut Ramen Issue once a year. The issue has an essay by chef Ivan Orkin, where he tells what it was like operating a ramen restaurant in Japan, as a gaijin, or outsider. Lucky Peach is a food quarterly started by chef David Chang and writer Peter Meehan in 2011. The Ramen Issue is long out of print and fetches wildly high prices on eBay and Amazon, but Lucky Peach published Orkin’s essay online for the first time, just for us. Here’s an excerpt:
For most of that first summer, the shop was fairly quiet─maybe thirty or forty customers a day. But Ivan Ramen started appearing on various ramen blogs, and word on the street that a gaijin was making good ramen was starting to filter out.
Following the fans came the second wave of blog entries, good and bad. My favorites…
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