What originated as a cheap post-war Japanese food to feed a hungry population, ramen has evolved into an iconic dish with a loyal following. We see this narrative play out in Ramen Heads, which documents Japan’s ramen culture and devotion through stories of different ramen cooks. We meet Tomita Osamu, Japan’s ramen wunderkind, who is obsessed with curating the perfect bowl of ramen, from the search for the best dried sardines and pig’s head, through the step-by-step of creating soup and noodle nirvana. Ramen disciples are willing to wait hours in line for a taste of the magic. Osamu gives us an intimate look into his world of ramen revelation and candidly shares every aspect of his cooking process. “The only reason the other shops won’t show you how they do it is because they’re scared you’ll find out they’re not really doing anything special,” he says. The other cooks we meet include a man who’s served 800 bowls a day for 50 years, and a woman who’s famous for her miso ramen.
We encourage you to check out this film at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Screenings are 4:15pm Saturday, April 7, and 1:35pm Monday, April 9.