VIDEO: Japanese Ramen’s New York Lifestyle

kotteri ramen james boo

Takumi Ito, a manager at Hide-chan Ramen in Manhattan, grew up eating chef Hideto Kawahara’s father’s ramen in the Japanese city of Fukuoka. After moving to New York and securing a job at a Midtown bar frequented by Japanese patrons, Ito had a chance encounter with the younger Kawahara, who had stopped in for a drink while planning the opening of his first New York restaurant.

By this time, Kawahara had become the successful owner of a chain of Japanese ramen shops, each one bearing his childhood nickname (“Hide-chan”). He offered Ito a job as one of his first stateside employees, and Ito has been offering New Yorkers a taste of their shared experience ever since — in the form of a Hakata-style pork broth matched by few other ramen shops in the city.

To accommodate New Yorkers unaccustomed to kotteri (“rich”) ramen broths, Hide-chan offers a “New York Style” broth, slightly less fatty but by no means light. But even while overseeing the conversion of new customers to a higher state of satiation, Ito has noticed that they, too, have a particular way of eating ramen that he never knew when he was slurping noodles in his hometown.

James Boo

James Boo is a multimedia journalist based in Brooklyn. As Editor-in-Chief of Real Cheap Eats, an independent filmmaker, and a freelance food writer, James has devoted his storytelling career to the intersection of food and culture. You can see more episodes of this web series at

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