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Chatting with Ivan Orkin about Authentic Ramen

Slurp it!

Get ready to slurp tomorrow evening, July 21: legendary ramen chef Ivan Orkin is coming to the Hamptons for one night only. Momi Ramen will host an à la carte "Ivan Ramen" menu.

Sorry, folks! Due to "unforeseen circumstances" the dinner has been canceled. But you can still indulge in Ivan Ramen in the city. Or, of course, get delicious Momi Ramen right here in the Hamptons.

Curious to find out more, we asked the self described "Jewish kid from Long Island" (Syosset) about the Japanese noodley goodness he specializes in.

Do you think being Jewish—that love of good food—has something to do with your love of being a cook?

Yes, but my mother didn’t love food and would yell at me if I ate too much. She was the anti-Jewish mother!

Is there a specific way to eat ramen? Are we supposed to eat the toppings separately?

You can do whatever you want. You can stir the toppings in if you like. The most important thing is to eat it quickly. Slurp it! Eat it while it’s hot.

The example I always give is that it’s similar to the way you need to eat a good pizza right out of the oven. No self-respecting New York pizza maven is going to chat when their pizza arrives. The crust is going to get hard and cheese will lose its molten deliciousness.

Most Americans are not used to eating like that: they want to chat over their food. But with ramen, you need to eat it quickly, while it’s hot. After a while, the noodles get soft and the texture changes; the broth loses some of its distinctive flavor from the flour in the noodles.

Do you serve different styles of ramen here as opposed to Japan? More Western flavorings?

The fascinating thing about ramen in Japan is that there are no real rules. It’s like a sandwich: you can put anything together, as long as it’s good and the balance is right. Even a nonfoodie knows a bad sandwich from a good sandwich.

Ramen is the same thing: you need the right balance of soup, broth, noodles, and topping. A bad sandwich falls apart. When you slurp the soup the noodles should shoot into your mouth. A bad bowl of ramen is out of balance.

Is authentic ramen something that could be made at home in the US?

Ramen made properly is several day process. You need to simmer the broth for a long time, make your own noodles, render your fat. But each component can be made separately. You can interrupt and freeze some stuff in the middle, but it’s perfectly possible. In my book, I devote 38 pages to the preparation of ramen. And it’s really fun.

Momi Ramen

221 Pantigo Rd, East Hampton, NY 11937 (631) 324-1678 Visit Website