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October 30, 2013 8:37 pm
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The New King of New York Ramen is…Jewish?

avatar by Zach Pontz

A bowl of Ramen. Photo: Wikipedia.

The new and future king of Ramen is…Jewish? Well, yes, according to the New York Post.

Meet Ivan Orkin, a trained chef who, while living in Japan for the last decade became something of a Ramen celebrity. Spurred on by his wife’s demand that he “do something” following a period of unemployment, Orkin chose to delve into the harsh world of Ramen, a Japanese noodle dish, with little knowledge of the craft.

“I was already a chef for 15 years, and I didn’t really want to do an apprenticeship,” he told the Post. “I ultimately decided to figure it out myself.”

By 2007, Orkin’s ramen restaurant in Tokyo had become a sensation, with Ramen Magazine naming him”Rookie of the Year,” no small feat for a foreigner.

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Following 2011’s devastating earthquake, Orkin and his wife and children relocated to New York City, not far from his childhood home in Syosset, Long Island. Now he’s opening two Ramen shops in quick succession. Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop will open on November 11, at Gotham Market West, to be followed soon thereafter by Ivan Ramen on the Lower East Side.

“I’m really happy about opening in New York,” Orkin told the Post. “I have a lot to say with ramen, and I’m excited to say it. And it’s good to be around my friends and family.”

And while ramen is a resolutely ethnic food of the Japanese variety, that hasn’t stopped Orkin from using his Jewish background to put his own twist on things. For example, his new cookbook and memoir, “Ivan Ramen,” features a recipe for schmaltz fried chicken katsu.

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