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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

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  692 Ratings  ·  107 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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2009 by Gotham (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,559)
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Sep 16, 2009 Michaela rated it really liked it
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
Dec 21, 2011 Jessikah rated it really liked it
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
Erin Webb
Feb 09, 2010 Erin Webb rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
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
Dec 25, 2010 Sophia rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, non-fiction, 2010, food
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
Jul 17, 2009 cat rated it really liked it
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
Aug 23, 2011 Vy rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 30, 2014 Canice rated it really liked it
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
Jan 31, 2013 Bronwen rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 13, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ramen King and I is a great read for people with a deep interest in Japanese culture. Raskin has achieved a rare balance on the memoir side of the book, weaving his tale in such a way that it does not feel overbearing. The reading is really enjoyable and goes by in a flash if you are engrossed in the specifics of sushi making and manga reading (the author follows the niche genre of cooking-themed manga, in case you are wondering).

The overarching story of Raskin's love life will likely leave
Bruce Nordstrom
Oct 14, 2014 Bruce Nordstrom rated it liked it
I liked this book very well. Maybe it's because of my age. Andy Raskin and his womanizing reminds me of another younger man I used to know. His path to peace is not the same one he took, but I hope he was successful.


On page 45 of his book, Raskin mentions that during his brief employment at K-Mart, International headquarters, there is a statue of a skull out in front of the building. It's two stories high, and made of solid bronze. Located in Big Beaver (suburb of Troy), Michigan.

Marc Menz
Feb 21, 2016 Marc Menz rated it liked it
Luckily its not a long memoir, however without the parts about Momofuku Ando, the book becomes a bit of a chore. Unless you have a desire to read the thoughts and doings of Andy Raskin - there really is no purpose to this book. I read it in the hope that he has intimate conversations with Momofuku, and I was unfortunately misguided. I even hoped there would be a lot more quirky Japanese stories, however this is also limited to one sushi restaurant and one ramen restaurant.

Overall worth a quick r
James Colon
Nov 04, 2014 James Colon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
When I had first heard about this book, it was on the Monster Hunter Podcast Show Episode 85: A Brief History In Ramen, since then I had been so interested in the book, I think it may have something to do the fact that I was always intrigued by Japanese food and culture. I didn't get the book until two-three years later (talk about a long wait), but when I did finally get this hidden gem of a book I was hooked.

Andy Raskin is an NPR commentator who has written for the New York Times, Gourmet, Wi
Gary Paulson
Nov 22, 2014 Gary Paulson rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Don't remember what book I was reading that recommended this one.
It is an odd book seeming to deal with the author's inability to build lasting relationships and feeding that insecurity by being sexually promiscuous.

Update after finishing: The author shows that his insecurity was due to the inner voice that was constantly belittling him (himself). It was not until he could talk back to the voice that he was able to enjoy life. His promiscuity was actually a form of self-abuse.

I did learn a lot
Jan 24, 2010 May-Ling rated it liked it
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
Jason Hwang
Jan 05, 2010 Jason Hwang rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-1-honors
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
Dec 29, 2011 Jane rated it it was ok
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
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
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
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
Nov 27, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 18, 2009 Chrisf rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 31, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 09, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2011 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it
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
Aug 09, 2015 Joshua rated it really liked it
This was delightful, quirky, and reorienting. In a word, Japanese. There's something very encouraging in the work, which is one part an explanation of the AA system (or OA, or NA, etc.), one part a quick summary of Ando Momofuku's contribution to the world, and one part a dive into Japanese culture. That the author ties it all together is quite impressive.

After I did a quick google search, I didn't see much more to his name other than a few articles on NPR ten years ago. I do hope he keeps writi
Mark Edrys
Apr 13, 2013 Mark Edrys rated it liked it
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
Christine Wahl
Nov 22, 2015 Christine Wahl rated it did not like it
One of the worst books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. What a horrible boring book.

All about a fellow who can t stay monogamous. Cheats on all girlfriends every chance he gets. Moves on to the next etc . One relationship to the other. Dates every person he can get his hands on from dating sites. Nothing graphic. Just plain old repetitive and boring. Guy must be sex addict among other things.
Feb 25, 2016 HeavyReader rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-stories
On the surface, this book is about a man who sets out to meet he inventor of instant ramen noodles. On a deeper level, this book is about a man who wants to understand himself, most importantly why he cheats on women he loves and has sex with women he just met.

Sometimes this book broke my heart, but whenever I picked it up, I could barely put it down again. Some nights I just about fell asleep while reading this book. I so enjoyed Raskins' writing style.

Anyone interested in Japan and post-World
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TheBears: Goodreads post 1 1 3 Oct 06, 2014 08:03PM  
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