British Columbia

David Chang says ramen is dead — but is it?

Local food critic Alexandra Gill discusses chef David Chang's declaration that the noodle soup trend is dead in Vancouver.

The chef who put Ramen on the map in 2004 is now saying the noodle soup trend is dead.

Ramen is a popular Japanese noodle soup. (CBC)

The chef who started the ramen noodle soup trend in North America has declared it dead, but Vancouver food critic Alexandra Gill says his pronouncement is overdone.

David Chang, the owner of New York City restaurant Momofuku, wrote in food magazine Lucky Peach that the noodle soup has lost its innovative edge because of the Internet.

"It’s because there’s no more thirst for knowledge, no catalyst for imagination or reason to try to create new and different things anymore," wrote Chang. "People still want to know things, but now they can find the answers with barely any effort."

Vancouver food critic Alexandra Gill disagrees.

"Well he's full of pork," said Gill. "He's upset because it's gone mainstream and it's no longer this fringe niche that he created in New York, so he's lost his special status."

Gill says Vancouver was ahead of New York in the ramen trend. Whereas Chang opened up his ramen restaurant in 2004, Vancouver's first ramen establishment, Kintaro, opened in 1999 with lineups out the door within a year.

Since then, other popular Japanese restaurants serving ramen in Vancouver have included Guu, Gyoza King and Hapa Izakaya.

Gill says Vancouver's ramen scene has always been fairly traditional compared to New York's.

"We were ahead of New York," said Gill. "But we've never been a hipster noodle city."

She thinks that ramen will continue to flourish in Vancouver.

"There's still lots of good ramen to be had and it's not going anywhere," said Gill. "Maybe it's time for him to move on, but ramen is here to stay."


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