RAMEN SHOP (RAMEN TEH)
Masato (Takumi Saito) is a Chef in his father’s Ramen Shop. His strongest childhood memories are of his Chinese mother Mei Lian (Jeanette Aw) eating Pork Rib Soup. His mother died while Masato was still a boy. After Masato’s Japanese father Kazuo (Tsuyoshi Ihara) dies, he visits Singapore to learn about the Chinese side of his family. Since Pork Rib Soup is a strong memory, he also wants to learn to cook it. This Singapore-Japanese drama is a legit foodie movie. Ramen Shop is also a complex and emotional drama as Masato unfolds his family’s history.
Miki (Seiko Matsuda), a food blogger, assists Masato while in Singapore. Miki does a wonderful job to explain the Singaporean foods and how they have evolved into a multicultural cuisine. Through Miki and his Uncle Wee (Mark Lee) there are extensive discussions of foods. The main food discussion throughout the entire movie – Pork Rib Soup.
Ramen Shop is told using flashbacks of Masato’s mother and father as he is retracing their steps in Singapore. The use of flashbacks can get a bit confusing especially in the beginning. Usually the flashbacks have a softer lighting to make you aware. Unfortunately, the softer lighting is not consistently used so at times it is easy to get lost. Learn the faces quickly.
The acting is kind of meh, nothing outstanding or too dynamic, and there are also several actors that are amateurs. The amateurs don’t have a large role, but they seem nervous and disconnected at time and become distracting in a couple scenes. If there is a comedic relief in this movie it is Uncle Wee – no, not the name – the way he speaks. He is the most hyper of the actors, he has some personality. It is amusing hearing Uncle Wee blend English, Chinese and Japanese while speaking. Any jokes (I can remember one, maybe two) are usually at his expense.
Ramen Shop shows the middle-class view of Singapore, not the outrageously rich side as in Crazy Rich Asians. In addition, almost every scene has something to do with food. They are either preparing, eating, tasting, or talking about food. Along with the shots of food, there are several scenes in open air markets and stores while buying food.
The sentimental climax scene works well. Maybe it is a bit melodramatic, but most will shed some tears due to a complex mix of emotions; happiness – regret – sadness – world strife – wars – and lost time.
This is a must see for any foodie, perfect for a foodie who wants to get sentimental and cry.