I haven’t been watching Manabu-kun. I don’t know who the new hosts are but they are way more boring compared to the allstar trio of Jinnai, Kenkoba, and Tamuken. On top of that, the first episode was about taxes and I was just like… whatever. I don’t care about taxes. Even if Docking talked about taxes I’d probably skip it.
Also there’s no Megumi-chan.
That withstanding, I decided to watch this episode because it’s about ramen.
Some guy actually comes and drops the history of ramen. I was actually surprised to learn that it is a relatively new food. Well, I guess it really took off around the same time hamburgers and hot dogs took off in the US, but I always thought it had some historical value. Guess I was wrong on that one.
Whenever I talk about ramen, though, I’m a little confused. I get cravings for it, I enjoy it, I will go long distances to try a new bowl… but for some reason I’m a little hard-pressed to consider it one of my favorite foods. I’d consider a Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger (a California chain) one of my favorite foods and it does occupy the same spot that I’d put ramen in: comfort food.
I have yet to figure out why this is, though.
So on the show they go through a lot of the history and cover some of the regional specialties of ramen and such. I find it fascinating but on the other hand it kinda sucks because I won’t experience those regional specialties. I still remember going to Texas and not trying their BBQ. And there’s a ton of BBQ I still have yet to try. And I live here! Compare that to living overseas and trying to eat North Carolina-style BBQ and you get the same feeling I do.
The next topic is tsukemen.
Tsukemen is much newer. I think it only started booming a couple years ago, and it differs from ramen in that you have your toppings on the side of the broth. Your broth is also a lot thicker, because you need to dip your noodles and the broth needs to stick when you do it.
Interestingly, on the program, they said that tsukemen was invented for convenience because you could eat it right away, whereas ramen is served hot and you have to wait for it to cool down, etc.
They also mentioned that tsukemen has no regional representation, except perhaps Hiroshima-style.
I’ve had Hiroshima-style once. In Tokyo, actually. My friend asked me to eat lunch with him while he was on break, so he took me to this real home-style place. I actually thought we were going to someone’s house until we stepped inside… and it was an absolutely fantastic bowl of tsukemen as well. There’s something about the sesame flavor in Japan that tastes much better than here.
While tsukemen is almost always offered at ramen places here in LA, I don’t think I’ll ever get Hiroshima-style. (There is a place called Ikemen that serves a great Italian-fusion tsukemen that uses basil and tomatoes, but it’s in Hollywood and traffic is always terrible if you want to go there, not to mention the horrible parking situation. This is the pain of living in LA.)
After, the hosts and some people sampled a pick from the guy who lectured about ramen, and a pick from the guy who lectured about tsukemen. The tsukemen store being introduced was actually backed by the guy who gave the lecture on tsukemen. And I think he was the comedy partner of the guy with the hat and the bow tie.
In the end they voted for the tsukemen over the ramen. I don’t know how I feel about that. They are similar, but they are also quite different. Maybe they should throw in Mentaiko pasta as a contender?
I also thought Sayaka was a vegetarian. Idol life must be hard on her.