The Boob Ramen
Boobs! I think everyone in the world, no matter where you come from, will agree that boobs are pretty awesome. And while it’s an old adage that “boobs” sell, it’s always refreshing to find boobs in places you never expected them. In this video presented by Ramen Adventures, we find boobs in the most charming an unexpected of places – a ramen shop. Or, no, perhaps it’s ramen in a boob shop. A Boob Ramen…Or… what?
While ramen hardly needs an introduction, it’s fun to know a little more than “add boiling water and wait three minutes.” Ramen is in fact an intense part of Japanese food culture. Drawing from the huge variations of noodle styles available in the country at the time, the term “ramen” was coined in the late 1950s using a combination of the word “ra” meaning “soup” in Chinese, and “men,” meaning “noodles.”
According to a survey done by todo-ran.com, there are, as of 2013, more than 33,000 ramen shops in Japan, the highest concentration being in Yamagata. Boy they sure do love their ramen – or are there just a lot of single guys living out there in the sticks?
Another aspect of Japanese culture introduced in the video is the “snack.” A “snack” is a type of small izakaya run by a single face to draw in the customers. The patrons are usually locals or people who know the owner very well. More often than not, the owner is a woman, often called “Mama” out of affection. What differs from izakaya are aspects such as variety of menu, employment of help, the personalized interaction with the customers, the small nature of the establishment, and of course, the dependency on the return of the patrons. Oftentimes a “bottle” will be set aside with regular customers’ names registered – they pay for the price of the liquor up front so that they can come back and drink it at any time.
Oppai Ramen, or, “boob ramen” is a strange balance between a snack and it’s menu – boobs. No, ramen. Er, you decide for yourself what it is that keep the patrons coming back!
The video starts out with our host of Ramen Adventures arriving at the station of Gakugei Daigaku, a residential “ bed town” known for its used book stores and reasonable location in proximity to the city.
We go up some tiny, rickety stairs to the second floor of a standard bar building to find “Ramen Snack Bar Izakaya,”
or as it’s known in the vernacular – Oppai Ramen.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here’s our “mama,” Takako. She runs this establishment by herself, serving all the drinks, cooking all the food, and of course, making ramen.
Which, of course, she’s very good at.
After a sensitive and elegant display of the fine craftsmanship of ramen performed right before our very eyes, Takako presents the finished ramen – the real reason our host is there.
Our host expertly describes the dish – a light shio and shoyu flavor mix, covered in heaps of onions and unremarkable noodles. It is, as he describes it, bar food, and that it is.
One of the best features of this kind of simple ramen is the many variations in toppings. Our host tries a whole myriad of provided flavors to find a good balance. Here he tries the yuzu-kosho (yuzu pepper, literally).
Our host also recommends lime to go with the yuzu-kosho flavor.
While eating, our host admits he is getting a little tipsy. Part of the fun of eating in a snack like this is getting drunk on the atmosphere, the conversation, and the beaujolais of the season.
We continue on our journey of toppings with katsuo-oil, full of omega-3s and all sorts of umami goodness.
The mixture of flavors makes the ramen fun, we’re told. He polishes off the bowl and describes at as super light and easy to eat. He could surely eat another three.
Finally, to conclude this episode, we get a fabulous show as Takako responds to a question about what her patrons really come for. The buffet, of course.
All the info about the Boob Ramen down here:
Name: Ramen Bar Snack Izakaya/Oppai Ramen (Boob Ramen)
Address: 2nd floor of Endo Bld. 2-15-10 Takaban Meguro Tokyo
Hours: Open everyday from 7pm to 1am