cover image Ivan Ramen

Ivan Ramen

Ivan Orkin. Ten Speed, $29.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-6077-4446-7

As the rhythm of his name foretells, duality emanates from Orkin in a nearly oracular manner. He is of two lands: Tokyo, where his ramen has drawn raves, and his native New York, where he learned the restaurant trade at Mesa Grill and Lutèce, and where soon he will be opening a new noodle shop. He has had two wives, as we learn from this text, which is one part compelling autobiography and one part cookbook (plus a hilarious foreword from David Chang on America’s inability to eat ramen properly). His signature meal, shio ramen, is a noodle soup made from two broths: chicken, and a seaweed/seafood mixture known as dashi. Orkin spends a leisurely 35 pages to explore, photograph, and dissect every component of this dish, from the chicken fat that harks back to the schmaltz he grew up with to the toasted rye noodles and the cured bamboo shoots. A half-cooked egg, sliced perfectly in two with a piece of fishing line, completes the presentation. The remaining handful of recipes tell you what to do with the leftovers (make an omelet made with dashi, wash the bamboo shoots down with a beer) or offer some ramen variations such as ago tsukemen, which is rich in roasted garlic and served cold. (Oct.)