by Eric Khoo
I have always been intrigued by food and the role that it plays in our lives. As the noted food historian Ben Rogers says, “Food is, after language, the most important bearer of cultural identity”. I feel that what food signifies goes beyond that, it defines who we are and shapes the lives we lead. On top of that, I also think that food is a unifying force. It has the power to bring people together under the most mysterious circumstances. I started work on this project when a producer friend Yutaka Tachibana asked if we could work on something to celebrate 50 years of Japan and Singapore’s diplomatic relations. I felt that food would be a perfect vehicle as both countries are crazy about good food and because there are so many stories about food that have moved me. Hence we started to look into the food of each country that we could incorporate into the story. We settled upon two iconic dishes from each country, Bak Kut Teh and Ramen. Themes such as acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation appear in the film. I want to celebrate relationships, not only amongst people but also between food and people. It is a reminder that more than just sustenance, food can warm our hearts and feed our souls.
I am excited that Ramen Shop is now opening in theaters throughout North America and thought a little background and a recipe might be fun to accompany your enjoyment of the movie and the food.