Yes, ramen continues to be the biggest thing to hit the New York City food scene, spawning the Ramen Burger and other spinoffs. That is why the new, 4K restoration of the hilarious and mouthwatering 1985 film Tampopo at Film Forum is essential viewing.

Tampopo, written and directed by Juzo Itami, was hailed for its "erotic gusto" and "comic lustiness," as the movie weaves together various portraits of food and sex. All the stories revolve around the main narrative: Tampopo, who operates a mediocre (at best) ramen joint, and Goro, the truck driver-ramen sage who agrees to help Tampopo turn around her restaurant and become the best. Goro's character is also a satire on Clint Eastwood's characters in spaghetti Westerns, making this, ahem, a ramen Western.

Roger Ebert wrote, "'Tampopo' is one of those utterly original movies that seems to exist in no known category. Like the French comedies of Jacques Tati, it's a bemused meditation on human nature in which one humorous situation flows into another offhandedly, as if life were a series of smiles," and was in thrall by its devotion to detail:

Consider, for example, the tour de force of a scene near the beginning of the movie, where a noodle master explains the correct ritual for eating a bowl of noodle soup. He explains every ingredient. How to cut it, how to cook it, how to address it, how to think of it, how to regard it, how to approach it, how to smell it, how to eat it, how to thank it, how to remember it. It's a kind of gastronomic religion, and director Juzo Itami creates a scene that makes noodles in this movie more interesting than sex and violence in many another.


is playing at Film Forum starting tomorrow, Friday, October 21, through November 3. Nobuko Miyamoto, who played Tampopo and is the wife of the late Itami, will be at the 7:35 p.m. screening tomorrow night for a Q&A.

Also, here is a handy guide on how to eat ramen, because after you see Tampopo, you'll definitely be craving it.