10 Best Books for Ramen Lovers

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As an avid reader, I enjoy reading travel stories as well as cookbooks. I especially love cookbooks that aren’t just about the recipes and techniques, but also about the story and history behind the recipes and the food.

Below are a few of my favorite books on ramen and Japanese cuisine. There are even wonderful children’s books on ramen. Any of these would make a great addition to your own collection or gifts to friends and family.

10 Best Books For Ramen Lovers
10 Best Books For Ramen Lovers

(1) Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond

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(2) Ramen Otaku: Mastering Ramen at Home: A Cookbook

“Otaku” is a Japanese word that denotes a full-on obsession with something. Ramen Otaku author Sarah Gavigan moved back to her hometown of Nashville after spending twenty years eating through ramen joins in LA. With no decent ramen available, she dedicates herself to recreating the perfect bowl and now shares her secrets and recipes for the home cook to recreate at home.

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(3) Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint

When Ivan Orkin’s passion for ramen takes him from the US to Japan to open a ramen shop, he faces many trials of tribulations along the way. His journey to open a noodle shop gives us insight into parts of Japanese culture and the many intricacies of creating a bowl of ramen.

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(4) Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars

Each chapter tells an inmate story of life behind bars all with a common theme of ramen as a prison commodity and the unique and creative recipes that are devised given the limitations of ingredients. Includes stories from celebrities like Slash from Guns n’ Roses and actor Shia LaBeouf.

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(5) Ramen at Home: The Easy Japanese Cookbook for Classic Ramen and Bold New Flavors

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(6) Super Sushi Ramen Express: A Culinary Adventure Through Japan

Reading this book made me realize that I’d have to spend a considerable amount of time in Japan to really experience all the food: there are shops devoted to just one kind of noodle (udon, ramen, soba) and even within one city, there are different variations. I had to settle for living vicariously through the author’s travels of eating noodles downstream from where it is released and dining at an exclusive restaurant that’s by word-of-mouth invitation only.

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(7) The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze

The Untold History of Ramen is another book on my wish list:

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(8) Japanese Cooking – A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji

This is an absolutely beautiful book that would make a unique and special gift.

“The 25th Anniversary edition celebrates Tsuji’s classic work. Building on M. F. K. Fisher’s eloquent introduction, the volume now includes a thought-provoking new Foreword by Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl and a new Preface by the author’s son and Tsuji Culinary Institute Director, Yoshiki Tsuji. Beautifully illustrated with eight pages of new color photos and over 500 drawings, and containing 230 traditional recipes as well as detailed explanations of ingredients, kitchen utensils, techniques and cultural aspects of Japanese cuisine, this edition continues the Tsuji legacy of bringing the Japanese kitchen within the reach of Western cooks.”

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For Children:

(1) Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

My kids absolutely loved this book and my then five-year-old at the time couldn’t stop reading it over and over and asking lots of questions:

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(2) The Discovery of Ramen: The Asian Hall of Fame

This one is on my wishlist – a little red panda named Dao guides school kids Ethan and Emma back in time to discover how ramen was made:

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Please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email if you have any favorite noodle books to recommend.

Happy reading!

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