RIP Ramen, 2004-2015.
At least that’s according to Momofuku chef and founder David Chang, who declared in an essay for Lucky Peach that the Internet has “killed innovation in ramen.”
Ramen is a mainstay of Chang’s Momofuku restaurants, and he writes that it “wasn’t cool” to serve ramen in 2004, when Momofuku Noodle Bar opened. Chang recalls his days of going to wd~50 to envision his own version of ramen–to say nothing of having to wait for cookbooks from Japan to arrive.
But “now the Internet’s changed everything,” he writes. “People can get all the information they want instantaneously, and that has killed innovation in ramen.”
What’s more, he writes, ramen is now everywhere–and it all tastes the same. “I don’t want to go to every city and taste the same [expletive] thing,” he writes.
And forget about that ramen burger. “The ramen burger is not an invention—it’s the lowest hanging fruit. I’ve heard tell of a ramen burrito—that’s the [expletive] end of everything,” Chang writes.
In a counterpoint, Lucky Peach editor David Meehan (and author of the book Momofuku Brunch) writes that “ramen is better than it’s ever been. We know more about it, we have greater access to it, and for every mind that’s opened to it as a possibility, the chances for it to spread in popularity and improve are exponentially improved.”