Written by Ivan Orkin, Foreword by David Chang
Published by Ten Speed Press (2013)
It has been two years since Crowded Earth Kitchen embarked on a European Food Tour, and it’s time for new culinary adventures. We are happy to announce that Crowded Earth Kitchen will soon be heading to Japan!
Among the many foods we are eager to sample, photograph, and (attempt to) recreate for you, authentic, made-from-scratch ramen is high on the list. We borrowed a copy of Ivan Ramen from our local library, based upon the cover alone. Lo and Behold, the book is fantastic! After reading the book cover to cover, we purchased a copy to keep for ourselves!
Right from the Foreword, the unapologetic prose of Chef David Chang had me laughing out loud. In discussing Ivan’s plans to open a second ramen shop in New York, David Chang quips, “People are going to look at you like you’re this weird thing, like the Eminem of ramen. I can almost get away with doing ramen because I’m Asian. You’re probably f#@%ed.”
A few pages into the memoir in Ivan Orkin’s own words, I knew this was a 5 Star book. Often hilarious but at times deeply personal, Ivan’s story is much more than the story of opening a ramen shop in Tokyo. In equal parts, it is also a coming of age story and a fascinating glimpse at the realities of a foreigner working to become accepted into his local community in Japan.
While the first half of Ivan Ramen is a memoir, the second half is a cookbook… a remarkable cookbook. Against the advice of his assistant, Ivan Orkin included the entire recipe for his signature Shio Ramen. This recipe is not for the faint of heart! As Ivan says, “The inhumanely ambitious can try to make a bowl in one all-day marathon (you’d better get up early). The slightly less crazy will try it over the course of several days or a week.”
Who wants to try it with us?