Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
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The end-all-be-all guide to ramen from Ivan Orkin, the iconoclastic New York-born owner of Tokyo's top ramen shop.
In 2007, Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He was a gaijin (foreigner), trying to make his name in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first, customers came because they were curious, but word spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth, and thoughtfully prepared toppings. Soon enough, Ivan became a celebrity—a fixture of Japanese TV programs and the face of his own best-selling brand of instant ramen. Ivan opened a second location in Tokyo, and has now returned to New York City to open his first US branch.
Ivan Ramen is essentially two books in one: a memoir and a cookbook. In these pages, Ivan tells the story of his ascent from wayward youth to a star of the Tokyo restaurant scene. He also shares more than forty recipes, including the complete, detailed recipe for his signature Shio Ramen; creative ways to use extra ramen components; and some of his most popular ramen variations. Written with equal parts candor, humor, gratitude, and irreverence, Ivan Ramen is the only English-language book that offers a look inside the cultish world of ramen making in Japan. It 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.
IVAN ORKIN is a native New Yorker. He spent a total of thirteen years in Japan, but now calls Dobbs Ferry, New York home. He lives there with his wife, Mari, and three sons, but returns to Tokyo frequently.
CHRIS YING is the editor-in-chief of Lucky Peach and the editor and designer of the highly acclaimed Mission Street Food cookbook. He lives in San Francisco, California.
NORIKO YAMAGUCHI is a Tokyo-based photographer specializing in food, travel, and still-life photography. Her work has appeared in Elle Japon and Bunshun, as well as in a variety of other Japanese publications.
DANIEL KRIEGER is a New York–based food and portrait photographer. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Time Out New York, and Food & Wine.
"Ivan Ramen is a wonderful glimpse into the delicious, inspiring world of Ivan Orkin."
—Danny Bowien, James Beard Award–winning chef of Mission Chinese Food
"We are all fortunate that a young Ivan Orkin, growing up in 1970s suburban Long Island, fell in love with Japanese food. If he hadn’t, the world would never know Ivan’s amazing ramen, one of the most powerfully delicious noodle soups on the planet."
—Chad Robertson, James Beard Award–winning chef, author, and co-founder of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine
"Ivan has dedicated his whole life to understanding and creating the perfect bowl of ramen, and he has mastered the two most critical elements: the noodles and the broth. He consistently delivers the best bowls I’ve experienced in my life. Completely authentic, completely delicious."
—Ming Tsai, James Beard Award–winning chef, author, and owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon
“What Ivan Orkin does not know about noodles is not worth knowing.”
—Anthony Bourdain chef, author, and host of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown