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Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint Hardcover – October 29, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

From Booklist

This is an autobiography—and a cookbook, of sorts. More than that, it’s a journey of the making of an American ramen chef and an education into what constitutes a deceptively simple bowl of noodles in soup. Long Island–born Orkin traces his obsession with all things Japanese to his teens and college years, majoring in the language and its culture at the University of Colorado. After years of working unloved jobs and traveling to and from Asia, Orkin changed his life by attending the Culinary Institute of America and eventually secured stints at Lutèce and Restaurant Associates and opened a ramen shop in Tokyo. Thanks to his discovery by such celebrities as Ohsaki-San (Japan’s acknowledged ramen expert and manufacturer Sapporo Ichiban, among other good-luck encounters, Orkin established a following. Back in Manhattan, he now offers this book instructing readers in the ramen-making process: half-dozen-plus components fabricated from ingredients, all photographed and meticulously detailed in more than 30 recipes. Perhaps the tasks may be too complex, but by the end, all readers will gain an appreciation of the intricacies of ramen. --Barbara Jacobs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607744465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607744467
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think that those who rated this book on the low side really didn't understand what it was all about.

Having had ramen-ya's in Osaka, I can understand the fanaticism surrounding this noodle. There is so much more to ramen than the instant packages you can get 10 for whatever...

For all home chefs, you remember the day you had your "AHA!" moment. I did with this cook book. His friend's comment on why no one was about to impart to Ivan the secrets of making ramen is that they only knew what they were taught and never actually THOUGHT about what made that bowl special or even contemplated on making something based on personal desire and taste.

I've always wanted to make ramen from scratch. And this book REALLY had me THINKING about what I really was contemplating on doing. Making my OWN signature bowl with the things I really LOVE about ramen all in one spot.

My whole outlook on home cuisine has changed dramatically.

I've been a biochemist for most of my adult life, only switching my focus on completely new pathways in the last five years. It's time to break out my bench notebook and start working on a new and exciting project, one I'll be working on for the rest of my unusual life.

Life is uncertain, as Ivan pointed out. Having been through some bad earthquakes myself and helping my friends dig their homes out after the Kobe Earthquake, well, a bowl of ramen really was more than a bowl of ramen back then. It's life-affirming.

So I really did get it. A lot more than I had anticipated, so I feel this book was worth every single cent and then some.

PS: Planning to host a Ivan Ramen Night.
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Format: Hardcover
I felt compelled to write a review after I saw the one star review from the guy who "should have taken a closer look at the product description." I read this over the weekend after receiving it as a gift. Even though I haven't cooked any recipes, this will undoubtedly will be a great framework on how to make good ramen at home. I love his attention to detail. Temperatures for stock are given to the degree. Everything else is just as precise. Weights are listed (how does one properly measure bonito flakes if not by weight?).

Here's what the book isn't: a Japanese cookbook. It's the author's story of going to Japan as well as his recipe for ramen and a few other recipes for what to do with leftovers from making ramen. That's it.

The only thing I absolutely hated was the preface from David Chang. He basically goes on to berate white Americans for not being able to eat noodles properly and thereby ruining his ramen. The guy sets up shop in NYC and has an incredible reputation as a Chef and doesn't expect to get a bunch of meatheaded, moronic Instagram hipsters that don't know what they are doing?

Living here in Seattle, I can walk into any no name pho joint that is filled with white folks slurping the noodles properly down like Asians. I realize that having David Chang's pompous preface will probably help sell some books, but man he's a dingleberry.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ramen, so delicious with so many variations. Yes, I am a committed fan of ramen. I search for restaurants serving ramen when I travel. I make my own noodles at home. I work on perfecting the right balance for my broth and seasoning. I am a raman addict. So when I saw this book I did my happy dance and clicked the keys to have it in my hands. I got more than I hoped for when I finished it.
Ivan, is a Jewish White guy from New York. He studied Japanese lit and when graduated thought he should use it so he moved to Japan. Where he met his first wife and started to discover his destiny. He feel in love with Japan, the people, and the food. They moved back to NY for a while where they had a child. Tragedy struck and his life went into a
spin. He ended up picking up and moving back to Japan where he floundered and slowly rebuilt his life. He also ate a lot of ramen. This quest for the perfect bowl was fascinating to read. His story is important to the bowl he places in front of his customer.
The history of every ingredient, every step has value. His interaction with other great chefs and retailers, it all builds the flavor. This is a book where the history of the soup is impotent to understand to respect the final product. I loved it, his story was never uninteresting.
The recipes while time consuming have been directed in a way to simplify the process with timing. I have included many of his steps into my homestyle bowl and plan of using them all soon. What I love about his recipes is that he pushes you to be creative, make it yours. There is one to die for dessert, Lemon Sorbet. Totally drool worthy according to everyone in my home that has eaten it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, the biography is a little gratuitous but he has to sell a book, and really...recipes on ramen and the leftovers wouldn't fill a book.
People are complaining that the ingredients are hard to source and takes too long to make? Uh. This is the reason why ramen is $9-11 a bowl. If you spread the process out through several days, it's very manageable. Most of the stuff you can leave it alone on the stove or oven. It's not like a risotto or a roux where you have to stir every second.
What the heck are people expecting? Good ramen is simple, but not easy to make.

If you can't find shaved bonito or dried fish at your local Asian or Japanese supermarket there are MANY online sources where you can buy it.
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