The Taste Bud: The fiery flavors of Buldak Ramen

The Taste Bud: The fiery flavors of Buldak Ramen

As a brief reminder, henceforth on most Friday mornings F&D will be linking to prolific local writer Kevin Gibson’s “The Taste Bud” column, including new posts as well as ones from the past.

There is general agreement that ramen originated in China, from whence it migrated to Japan.

A number of geopolitical and economic factors—the reindustrialization of Japan’s workforce during the Cold War, the redefining of national identity during twenty years of economic stagnation—all combined to elevate ramen from working-class sustenance to a dish that is internationally recognized, beloved, and iconic.

Ramen proliferated by means of parallel tracks: a few cents for instant, and more than a few dollars when served by trendy eateries. Both paths are valid, although in South Korea’s case, ramen was an integral factor in the country’s rise from post-war poverty to international economic success.

Ramyun literally means noodles in a spicy broth; the noodles are usually instant and other side items are often added with kimchi or an egg being the most common. Korea was devastated after the Korean War, and the population was left with little disposable income and time to make their meals. Ramyun noodles were quick and easy to make, and...Read more