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In an era in which everyone and their grandma seems to be opening up ramen shops around every corner, an American chef dedicated to the precision, the art, and the slurpiness of the ramen is a breath of fresh air.

Ivan Orkin took a chance in Tokyo.

Originally from Long Island, Orkin packed his bags and landed in the Far East to master the art of ramen from its motherland. And remarkably for a ‘gaijin’ foreigner, he became a culinary marvel after opening two successful ramen joints in Tokyo.

Now Orkin is back in New York.

Momofuku’s Lucky Peach magazine first introduced Orkin’s return to the West. Re-assimilating to Manhattan was not an easy task.

“I had terrible culture shock when I came back to New York two years ago. During my 30-year relationship with Japan, I had spent a long time learning how to do things a certain way.”

But Orkin embraces his new brothy challenge.

“As a white guy from New York opening a shop in the heart of ramen land, I dealt with some pretty hard customers. But New York’s the same—there I’m still a white guy making ramen trying to convince people that I can cook noodles.”

In this short film, director Jake Sumner captures Orkin’s New York comeback, the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop at Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen. Not all bowls of ramen are created equal, and Orkin knows that. He breathes that truth. A fresh gust from the East is about to blow through New York, and one only hopes Orkin’s ramen truth overflows to DC and elsewhere in a hurry.

Enjoy.

The Eight Chapters of Ramen on Nowness.com

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Readers are already familiar with my fetish for things boiling in hot soup. If not, rest your gaze on this post here.

Upon much thought and consideration, I share with you today a ramen recipe that will shock your digestive track in the most pleasant of ways. No more chicken-flavor-powder Maruchan with Tabasco. With a few more ingredients and maneuvers of love, instant noodles shall be anointed as one of the best things-boiling-in-hot-soup creations ever devised within a home.

Bean sprouts add depth to any soup or broth. Sesame leaves are refreshing yet not overpowering, a great complement to the inherent spiciness of ramen. Hot peppers fully draw out the sweat-my-ass-off-and-blow-my-nose-twice quality of the ramen; it completes the spiciness and makes it more robust.

This makes a great midnight snack. Surprisingly, it makes a better weekend breakfast or brunch. After a night out, and before brewing your mid-morning coffee, give it a try – in lieu of sagging eggs benedict in room temperature hollandaise sauce. Empower your mornings!

Here are the ingredients:

1. Korean instant ramen noodles (preferably Shin Ramen, but any would do)

2. As many sesame leaves as you deem desirable

3. Handful of bean sprouts

4. Hot as hell peppers (though I would stay away from anything habanero and up if you want to retain any flavor in your final product)

5. A thing of green onions

6. An egg if you feel lucky

Instructions: Feel free to follow these liberally, and ad lib at your leisure. But remember this. Timing is priceless when cooking instant noodles. The boiling and chilling of the noodles take artisinal skill and care. Whatever you do, do not overcook the noodles.

1. Without opening the ramen bags, break the noodles in half. I find this to be a pleasant way to control noodle length, and your dining experience will be enhanced. Trust me.

2. Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water and strain them.

3. Stack the sesame leaves on top of each other and roll them, much like rolling a cigar or other like substance. Chop the rolled leaves in half-inch intervals (wider or narrower per your taste). This is an easier way to cut these leaves. The stems can be nasty, so discard.

4. Cut the pepper(s) diagonally. I think it looks better. Cut the green onion(s) the same way, but throw away the roots.

5. Start boiling a pot of water for the noodles. When the water comes to a boil (do NOT add the noodles before the water reaches boiling point), add noodles.

6. While noodles are boiling, start boiling a second pot of water. This is for the ramen broth. For quantitative measurements, follow what the back of the ramen package says; you could add a bit more, since you have more ingredients going in other than the noodles. Before water comes to a boil, add the powder flavorings and dried ingredients included in the original ramen packaging.

7. Back to your pot of boiling noodles. Whatever you do, you do NOT want to overcook the noodles. Once they are cooked enough that the original block forms are now no longer block forms, and the noodles are now untangled in a reasonable manner, take the pot off heat, place noodles in a strainer, and rinse with cold water. Much like cooking al dente pasta, this prevents the ramen from turning into a soggy bowl of morning cereal. Once rinsed, place noodles in a bowl and place the bowl in the fridge. Let it chill.

8. Add the bean sprouts, sesame leaves and peppers to the broth. After this concoction boils for a few minutes, here comes the egg dilemma. Per your taste, you can do one of three things: (1) go with no egg; (2) add an egg to the broth but barely stir it to keep that poached effect; or (3) add an egg and stir away. Once this dilemma is settled, add the green onion, just moments before you take the broth off the heat.

9. While the masterful broth is boiling, take the chilled noodles out of the fridge.

10. Pour the broth onto the noodles, with sprouts, leaves, peppers, green onions and all. Gasp in awe as the hot broth thaws the noodles into a perfect state of firmness and texture.

11. Enjoy with sour kimchi.

 

Stuff boiling in broth, over charcoal or gas burner. Give me an earthenware pot. Or a nickel silver one, too. Ramen, peppers, bean curd, blowfish. Sit, stir, slurp, sweat. Sweat more.

Meat grilling over charcoal. That initial contact, that sizzle. Smoke rises, fat simmers. Tender bulgogi, juicy skirt steak. Grab meat with tong, place on grill, and "hear" the meat. Partake.

INL presents Part Two of our Korea food odyssey.

In GIF.

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