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The next item on my list is also one of my most current annoyances. For whatever reason, the craze these days among foodies is ramen. And from what I have gathered, it is because many were misled to believe it existed only in the forms of instant noodle packets sold by the pallet and the meal-in-a-cup varieties.
And many can’t resist it seems to incredulously ask me and many other Asians, if I knew about ramen’s “secret life” outside of the packet and as a well crafted bowl of noodle soup. Followed by cutting me off before I can even answer with snooty lines like “I definitely don’t mean the kind you had in college!” Or “Not the kind that comes in a cup!” which I generally respond to with a prolonged eye roll and a bitter beer face. (Example provided of said face below)
You see the issue I have with ramen is for as long as I can remember, inevitably ramen would be linked to Asian food without provocation when friends would discuss whether they liked or disliked Asian food. And for the record, despite what this rant list would imply, I don’t care that much whether someone likes or dislikes Asian food. I mean I think you are a ninny and short sighted if you don’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get along. Also I appreciate two efforts in regard to judging food:
- As long as you have tried it, then you have some grounds to speak, otherwise you are entitled to your opinion but it just isn’t as valid in my opinion because its based on hearsay not on experience.
- Try it twice. Sometimes the first time is great, but if it’s not, you owe it to yourself to give it another shot before you right it off completely. Who knows, you may actually have liked it but it was just a bad first time. If you tried it a second time whether it was good, bad, or whatever, at least you tried it and know for sure. Plus big ups for being open minded.
But back to my gripe about ramen, it always at least in my experience, is inevitably used as some sort of agreed upon criteria on how non-Asians judge the merit of Asian food. On one spectrum I have heard people say “Of course I do! I love CUP-O-NOODLES!” which makes my soul die a little inside if they truly believe that is an authentic representation of what Asian cuisine has to offer. Or they say something like “Ugh I hate that stuff like ramen, it’s so cheap and bad for you.” which then I die a little again inside, since again,is also highly misrepresentative of Asian food.
Do Asians eat ramen both real and instant? You bet your sweet ass we do! But is it the only thing? No, and furthermore is it always the instant kind? You better bet that sweet ass of yours again that simply isn’t the case! Using instant ramen to judge a major portion of Japanese cuisine is like using a can of Chef Boyardee to represent Italian food, except it isn’t named after a Frenchmen. So please, stop asking me if I have “discovered” what ramen “really is” like you were Indiana Jones trying to explain the Holy Grail he nabbed before the Nazis got their mitts on it. Please just eat your delicious noodles quietly just like the rest of us. Well except the Japanese who think it’s polite to make large slurping noises when eating them, but you get what I mean.
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