Film Friday: Tampopo


Tampopo (Japan, 1985). Director Juzo Itami.

Films about food feature so regularly on my roll-call of film favourites that I could fill a year’s worth of Film Friday slots with the various delights of culinary cinema.

But however long the list and whatever my current favourite, Tampopo will always hold a very special place in my heart. Like a first kiss, or the first bite of a Thai fish cake (when you’ve grown up on classic “Kiwi” tucker), Tampopo was a revelation; an experience unlike anything that’s gone before.

It’s been called the first “ramen western, but it’s also a comedy, a gentle almost-romance, a bromance and a play on so many film tropes and genres that it’s hard to keep up.

At its heart is a quest for the perfect ramen. The genius is that this quest involves tough-guy truckers, a young widow and her bullied son, some homeless people, a rich elderly man, a few heart-of-gold punks and an assorted cast of Hollywood stock characters played not so much against type, as alongside but in a wholly different cultural context. Not forgetting some salarymen, a group of young women learning western etiquette, a dying housewife, a couple of con artists, and a gangster and his girlfriend who inhabit an almost entirely separate movie.

It’s messy, crazy, cheesy, sometimes quite erotic, seriously good fun.

And no matter how often I watch it I always end up craving a bowl of noodles.

About Film Friday

Sarah at Art Expedition, and Darren, The Arty Plantsman have initiated this great new blogging project. You can find out more and see their chosen films for the week by visiting Darren’s and Sarah‘s latest posts.



25 thoughts on “Film Friday: Tampopo

    • It is enjoyable on so many levels — not least for the way it plays with Hollywood conventions. And you may never be able to eat prawns the same way again. Assuming you eat prawns now 😀


  1. This film sounds like enormous fun, Su!! 😀 I’ve never even heard of it but will definitely look out for it now! And now that you’ve mentioned it I wonder if there are any food related movies that I like – he only ones popping up in my head at the moment are Chocolat and Ratatouille. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting! I had great ramen when I was a soldier station in Korea. The older Korean women would follow the troops training in the hills and mountains of Korea. No matter where we went they would show up outside our security wire and setup a ramen tent. Chicken, cheese and egg ramen, piping hot, delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Su
    Nice job describing this food film.
    I am excited to check it out.
    Last year I had two time frames of healing up – esp i summer with the rib injury – and just so happened to stumble upon a few food films that were top moved of the year for me.
    I wrote them down in a journal and need to go and grab the titles (will be back at some point to see if you heard of the two I really liked)
    Anyhow – added this movie to my watch list – thx for the post about it – was enjoyable to read


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