Header image: Eva Kolenko
Lucky Peach started 2015 with ramen month, a whole 31 days of stories about noodle soup to kick off it’s new digital site. That’s merely the culmination of ramen’s ascendancy as one of the most admired, debated, and commercially successful dishes of the past 5 years (ever since David Chang and Peter Meehan’s book, Momofuku, introduced Americans to the weekend-long tonkotsu ramen-making process).
“Many people believe it is just a little hype and it will pass,” posted Chemicalkinetics in May. “In other words, the number of ramen shops has passed the long-term sustainable number. At first, this seems like a reasonable assessment, but the more I look around, the most I question it. For the last 10 years, I have seen more Vietnamese Pho shops than Japanese Ramen shops. There are also many more Chinese wonton noodle shops as well. So why do people say the Japanese Ramen is a hype, but I don’t remember people calling Vietnamese Pho or Chinese wonton a hype?”
Here are 7 responses on Chowhound that help explain the ramen effect. What do you think?
1. Ramen is hipper and trendier than either pho or wonton noodles, so hype fatigue is real.
“I feel like more of the pho/wonton places are mom-and-pop type affairs that are less amenable to “hype”. Put another way, I can think of more hole-in-the-wall pho/wonton places than ramen places as a proportion.” –lamb_da_calculus
2. Everything is hyped these days, so what’s the big deal?
“You see it here, on Facebook, on Eater, Instagram and you wonder why its everywhere all of a sudden and it seems like hype. But its mostly regurgitation.” –babette feasts
3. There’s been more noise about ramen, even though the number of ramen places is relatively small
“peak hype for any particular food may not be represented as much by physical shops as by column inches.” –PhilD
4. Ramen is huge right now in Japan, too
“If it IS hype, then it is partly fueled by what is going on over there.” –LorenzoGA
5. Relax—this, too, shall pass
“When the fashion fades you tend to be left with the good ones and the pop-ups move onto something else.” –Foxeyblue
6. Depends on where you are
“It is less of a novelty, trend, or fad in parts of the US where ramen houses have long been a standard dining option.” –eatzalot