The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life
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The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  561 ratings  ·  83 reviews
For three days in January 2007, the most-emailed article in The New York Times was "Appreciations: Mr. Noodle," an editorial noting the passing, at age 96, of billionaire Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. The very existence of the noodle inventor came as a shock to many, but not to Andy Raskin, who had spent nearly three years trying to meet Ando. Why?

To fix t...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2009 by Gotham (first published 2009)
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Michaela
I liked this book quite a bit despite the fact that it is basically the autobiography of a cheating a-hole who uses women/sex to make himself feel better about his failures in life.

In fact, I found "The Ramen King" to be very entertaining, largely because Raskin is so self-deprecating and somewhat ridiculous. I laughed out loud in parts, and I never laugh out loud while reading. (OK, maybe David Sedaris sometimes.)

I also loved the numerous Japanese food and cultural references. (I had no idea th...more
Jessikah
Andy Raskin may not be a likable narrator. He may not even be or have been a likable person, though he seems to have had no problems getting women to sleep with him, however many people seem to think women generally like assholes and anyway one doesn't have to be in a "relationship" in order to engage in "carnal relations".

Andy Raskin is, however, an engaging writer who is able to relate to his readers while talking about some of the more unsavory flaws in his own personality. The book uses alte...more
Erin Webb
This book was on display at the Provo Library and caught my eye because of the interesting title. I never really considered that there was an inventor of instant noodles so I guess you could say my interest was piqued. I was mildly entertained by this book, but mostly found myself disenchanted because there never really seemed like an obvious resolution for the author's problems. I did enjoy learning about Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles and I appreciated what I learned about his...more
Sophia
The strangest part of The Ramen King and I is not any of the bizarre plot points—and there are plenty to choose from—but the fact that it is a memoir.
Andy Raskin is a American thirty-something fluent in Japanese whose chronic infidelity has caught up with him. Due to a number of strange coincidences, Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles and founder of Nissin Foods, becomes the unlikely motivating force for his 12-step-esque recovery. Along the way, the reader is treated to amusin...more
Chrisf
Ok, I'm sorry that I didn't review this book immediately, because I really want everybody to hurry up and buy it. (I do not know the author, personally.) I feel like I know him though, after reading his honest account of himself. Ok, maybe not so honest... he says he was a jerk, but, that's not what comes through in his writing. I do love memoirs, I notice that most of my 5 star ratings are for that kind of story. When I was describing this book to a friend, she said, "So, Eat,Love,Pray by a guy...more
cat
I really enjoyed this easy-read of a book, and devoured it in one night. It was exactly what it purported to be - a slightly self-derisive memoir about an NPR commentator/writer, Andy Raskin, and his quest to understand his life-long inability to remain monogamous. The fun part about the book is that it turns out that his quest for wholeness and a better love life is hinged upon meeting Momofuku Ando, the ninety-six-year-old inventor of instant ramen noodles. Sounds a bit whack, I know, but it r...more
Michael
Read it in one sitting -- Raskin manages to write about a broad array of compelling topics (for me): Japanese culture (obviously, from the title, including restaurants and food), business magazine writing, relationships, and something akin to "setting his moral compass". The structure and style of the book is interesting in alternating chapters that reflect parallel story lines (kind of like "Everything is Illuminated" but done internally rather than with a second narrator -- maybe "Soul Moutain...more
Vy
I stumbled upon this book while browsing my library's ebook offerings. The title intrigued me, and it was immediately available for download, so I figured I'd try it out.

Things start out cryptically. In the first several pages, there are letters written to Momofuku Ando about the author's insecurities and about his pattern of infidelities. We then learn that Ando is the man who invented instant ramen and that he died. Then we discover that the author plays trombone in a band with octogenarians....more
Canice
I think the following quote, edited from the Publisher’s Weekly review, really captures the spirit of this unconventional memoir. I am reluctant to put the effort behind writing my own review because I think that if you like ramen and you like memoirs and you like tales of self-discovery, you might like this book. To say much more could diminish the reader’s journey.

“This funny and idiosyncratic Japanese-fast-food memoir and quasi-spiritual autobiography from NPR commentator Raskin contains at...more
Bronwen
Jan 31, 2013 Bronwen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Japanophiles
I really enjoyed this! I particularly liked the reflections on Japan, the food-related manga series and the sushi restaurant in San Francisco. I'm also a huge fan of Nissin Cup Noodles (the Japanese ones are far superior to the ones we get in Australia!) and I visited the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum last year so I loved that part of the story went there as well.
Heidi
A very funny memoir of a serial dater who cannot keep any relationship monogamous and how his quest to interview the founder of instant ramen noodles assists him. Very funny. I went from thinking he was a total cad in the beginning to rooting for him in the end.
Rachel
I devoured this book in a matter of days. I wanted to learn how/if Momofuku Ando, the Instant Ramen inventor, could in fact help the author's love life. Go on this journey with the author to self-discovery of love, life and ramen.
Katy Mason
I loved this book. I appreciated the raw honesty of the author's perspective. It was touching.
May-Ling
i think for most people, this might be a two star book. if you have an interest in obscure parts of japanese culture, the book becomes 3 stars.

i find the main character pretty repugnant. he has a ridiculous program with staying faithful to women and is constantly lost in the world. what ended up drawing me in was the familiar place, as he's in san francisco, and the fact that he's big into chowhound. i used to search those boards all of the time, so i feel close the that foodie community. my fav...more
Jason Hwang
The book The Ramen King and I by Andy Raskin is a memoir about a reporter (Raskin) that constantly fails with his love life and is determined to meet Momofuku Ando, the inventor of ramen, to help cure his inability to maintain a love life with a woman. This story takes place mostly in Japan but also parts of the USA and other countries in Asia. Raskin's journey first started when he ate at an extremely addicting fatty ramen at Ramen Jiro. This ramen was so acidic that Raskin had to go to the eme...more
Jane
Dec 29, 2011 Jane rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: japan
I typically try not to know too much about a book before I read it because I like to let the story unfold in a natural way. This was one of the rare times when this system failed me. If I had read more about it, maybe I would have passed on this book.

At the start of the book I found the author to be quite unlikeable due to his chonic cheating on his girlfriends. Midway though the book, I sort of got over my dislike for him when I realized that he acknowledged the problem and set to fixing it. It...more
Samantha
I loved this book. Never mind the infidelities and his obvious addiction to sex/one-night stands that may prevent a reader from empathizing with Andy Raskin but I accepted it as one of his imperfect characteristics. I don't condone cheating but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it didn't stop me from falling in love with this book. Wonderfully written with lots of self-deprecating humor, it reminded me of Haruki Murakami so strongly and yet of course, it was different. Reading this book mad...more
Charlotte
This memoir easily lives up to its bizarre title. I discovered this book during a recent interview with Raskin on NPR, where he's also, apparently, done a lot of commentaries involving his take on Japanese culture. I think part of what makes it bizarre and touching is that Raskin is so clearly not used to introspection, and here he is attempting to be rigorously honest for the first time.



In a nutshell, it's the coming-of-age story of a charming, nerdy sex-addict (though, to his credit, he never...more
Larry Hoffer
Ok, so the book had me at the title. But unlike so many other books, this one lived up to the expectations its title generated. This was great! I'll admit that although I ate more than my fill of ramen while working my way through college, I never gave much thought to the man who invented it, much as I never really wondered who first thought orange, cheese-flavored powder mixed with milk would make mac and cheese. But I digress.



Andy Raskin seemed to have it all. He was a successful writer, music...more
Danny
Okay, so perhaps I was blown away by this title even more-so by the fact that I went into it with basically no expectations at all. I had originally purchased this book for my boyfriend mostly as a sort of tongue-in-cheek gift to both commemorate the many evenings of delicious stir-fried ramen he has prepared, while also poking fun at his interminable cheapness (we are well past the age when our contemporaries stopped considering ramen as a viable meal option). It elicited the requisite polite c...more
Becca
I came into this book with high expectations. Let's face it - it has probably the best title of any memoir in approximately the history of the universe.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book does not live up, particularly. Raskin's epistolary memoir mostly focuses on his scummy, womanizing ways and his desire to make up for them. Somehow, he finds the motivation to make reparations for past misdeeds by writing a series of monologues addressed to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. Why And...more
Jeff
Andy Raskin, who has contributed stories to NPR and the New York Times sets out to find himself with the help of unlikely spiritual guide, billionaire and inventor of instant Ramen noodles, Momofuku Ando. The story unfolds through letters written to Momofuku Ando about the author’s relationships and infidelities, sushi and ramen restaurants, manga and Japanese television.

I don’t eat sushi and I don’t read manga, but something about this book really captured my attention. The book is less a biogr...more
Eva
Andy Raskin introduces us to his problems via a series of letters written to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant Ramen and founder of Nissan Foods. At first it makes no sense why he writes these letters and why he publishes them for us to read. We learn that he knows how to speak Japanese, that he interned in Japan, that he loves sushi. He treats us to descriptions of marvelous meals and funny encounters. We learn that he considers himself a failure. Momofuku's life story is introduced as a s...more
Catherine
It’s an odd premise for a book. A Japanese-speaking American journalist seeks relationship advice and spiritual guidance from the inventor of Cup Noodles, Momofuku Ando. But it works. It really works!

Raskin is a jerk. He’s unable to remain faithful in his relationships with women. He’s a lying, cheating, two-timer. I should have had a strong dislike for this guy. And I did…at the beginning of the book. But then again, at least he was fully admitting his character flaws upfront. As I read on my h...more
Mark Edrys
I must say, this was a weird book. Andy Raskin is a great writer, and very well-versed in Japanese culture, particularly Japanese food culture. His descriptions of restaurants, food, train stations, hotels, and street scenes made me want to visit Japan. In fact, the backdrop of this story is 5-star. What brought the entire work down to 3 stars is his introspection. I couldn't care less about his psyche and his failed relationships, and the part that Momofuko Ando played in his healing. Though qu...more
Stephanie W
Even though this wasn't really about ramen and it was about the author dealing with problems of self loathing and commitment issues, I enjoyed it. His self-deprecating style is still entertaining in a Chuck Klosterman style, but less sarcastic. It wasn't bad.
Shawn Van De Peppel
I chose this book because I thought I'd pick something I would never usually read. What an oddly awesome book, with a narrative change 150 pages or so into it that turns a better than average book into something truly special. I still dont really get why I connected with it so much, which is fun. Also, I eat ramen more now.
Suzie
Raskin's inability to be faithful to any one woman causes him to adopt the inventor of instant ramen (Momofuku Ando) as his higher power. He writes letters to Ando and learns from Ando's life story as part of his recovery. Lots of Japanese food, manga, and samurai movie references. The book is going to be difficult if you do not find the author sympathetic (or at least pathetic and interesting). The combination of his writing, sense of humor, and genuine unhappiness and self loathing was enough...more
Nathan Agin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarath
Ramen King And I is a story where the author after feeling that he is losing his grip on life decide to surrender himself to a higher deity, which in his case turn out to be Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. He began writing a series of letters addressing to Momofuku about each and every thing that comes to the author's mind and about a connection he feels with Momofoku. The book is structured in an interesting way and is pretty funny and honest most of the times. It also offers us a...more
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