Yes, it’s described as “a Japanese western about ramen.” But it is so much more than that, especially if you’re in lust with food.
Tampopo (タンポポ or “dandelion”) is a 1985 Japanese comedy by director Juzo Itami. The movie was promoted as the first “ramen western”, a play on the term “Spaghetti Western”, which were films about the Old West created by Italian production studios.
While the main plot follows a widowed ramen shop owner’s quest to create the perfect ramen with the help of two truck drivers – the movie has many complex layers and side stories that explore social protocols, emotional attachment and sexual desire related to food.
The movie was recently remasted in 4K and being shown in different cities around the world. I was lucky enough to catch Tampopo during its short stint at Cinemateque.
While I have met people who just aren’t interested or fans of food (tasteless monsters) – this is the type of movie that would make you rethink your terrible tastes.
I have yet to try and recreate any ramen dish on my own, here are a few recipes that I’ll try to make one of these days.