"Peace will come to the world when all the people have enough to eat." --Momofuku Ando
Momofuku Ando, the man who invented instant ramen, died on Friday at the ripe old age of 96. This innovative revolutionary has saved countless college students from imminent starvation, for which he should be commended: there's nothing wrong with making food more accessible.
However, a by-product of his Cup Noodle empire is that a lot of Americans think that's what ramen really is. But it's so much more: a big steamy bowl of rich broth, fresh ingredients -- maybe a poached egg, maybe a fish cake or some green veg -- and a hefty tangle of toothsome noodles, best eaten in a gritty hole-in-the-wall in Tokyo in the hours between the bars closing and the trains starting up again (see photo above).
So, I'll include a link to Annie's post on Momofuku, a ramen place in Manhattan inspired by and named after this fabled visionary, but serving up the real deal. On this chilly winter morning (it's a blustering 56 degrees here in LA), I keep trying to stick my hand into the computer screen and pull the foxy bowl of noodles straight out of the pictures.
And if you can't make it to New York City or Tokyo, check out Santouka at the Mitsuwa on Venice and Centinela -- a new LA outpost of a famed Japanese ramen chain. Deliciousness in spite of fluorescent lighting. Some pics here at Rameniac.
Or shell out a dime and pick up a pack of Top Ramen. And pour out some broth for our homie Momofuku.
UPDATE: Here's a sweet remembrance of good old Momofuku, over at the New York Times.