Tampopo

The ultimate food movie that covers it all; from classic French to Noodles to Real Food Porn… 

It’s always pure pleasure for me to revisit this film, after not seeing it for a while.  Having lived for 2 years in Japan and traveling back there any chance I can, I get such a kick out of how crazy the Japanese are about food.  It always knocks me off my game when I travel back-even the convenience store food is good for god’s sake.

So, the story line(s) revolve around Tampopo, a Japanese widow, who is on the hunt to try and become a master noodle chef.  When two truckers, Gun and Goro happen upon the shop, they are less than thrilled with the insipid noodles that Tampopo is serving up.  One thing leads to another, and thus begins Goro’s tutelage to Tampopo.  With the help of gourmet vagabonds and these two truckers, they eat their way around noodle bars finding out what’s good and bad and what can be applied to her shop.

Intermixed with this story are various vignettes about love, lust and food.  There are some fantastic scenes: like a dying women cooking her last meal before collapsing dead in front of her family; some cute Japanese pearl divers offering oysters to the white suited gangster; sexy scenes of live prawns dancing on a naked belly; tender breasts being dipped in whipped cream and the stealth cooking of a rice omelet for a hungry boy.

In the end, Tampopo gets a refurbished shop and cooks the perfect noodles to a long line of eager guests.

Written and Directed by Juzo Itami

1986

RECIPE:  UDON NOODLES IN MISO BROTH