Ramen Shop (2018) - full transcript

A young man in Japan cooks ramen in his dad's popular restaurant. When his dad dies and he sees a video on Singapore food on internet, he decides to visit the woman, who uploaded the video. His dead mom was from Singapore and he lived there till he was ten. He looks for his mom's brother, who still has a restaurant. They bond by cooking together. He learns to cook Chinese food and gets inspiration for the restaurant back home.

That was good.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

Good evening, Mr Yamamoto.

How's your father?

You two live under the same roof, right?

Sometimes I wish I were a bowl of Ramen.

At least that way, he'd
show more interest in me.

It's been hard on you all these years.

You know what he's like.

I'm used to it.

Oh, yeah.

Your Aunt Riko wants you over for dinner.

Uncle, I'm no longer the same
boy who used to live with you.

It's rather embarrassing.


Riko treats you like her firstborn!

We weren't even married yet
when you first arrived in Japan.

I remember the wedding.

You were so nervous, weren't you?

In a nutshell,

I'm really a failure!

I was always jealous of you.

You were better at everything.

When you left home to
work at a Kaiseki restaurant,

I was furious.

How many Ramen cooks get to cook Kaiseki?

Today's the anniversary
of her death, isn't it?

Miki's Gourmet Journey

Exploring Singapore through its food

If there is a dish I would recommend to

any Japanese person visiting
tropical and humid Singapore,

it's Chilli Crab.

This is a dish Singaporeans
can truly claim as their own.

It was created in the 1950s.

Then in the 1960s,

Hooi Kok Wai, one of
the Four Heavenly Kings,

modified the dish by adding
sambal chilli and beaten eggs.

The Heavenly Kings are

the fathers of Cantonese
cuisine in Singapore.

The dish was traditionally
eaten with baguette,

but is now usually served with fried buns.

When dipped into the sauce,

the sweet, crispy dough
complements the dish perfectly!

I always order extra steam buns

and mop up all the delicious sauce!

Thanks for the spices, they just arrived!

It is midnight in Takasaki and
you just made my stomach growl.


Eat before it gets cold.

Thanks for the food.


Hey, Uncle!

Look, I made it again.

What's this?

It's soup.

Another failed attempt at Chinese soup?

I am confident this time.

Try it, please!


Once again, we're out of toothpicks.






It's all in Mandarin.

My precious Masato, thank
you for coming into my life.

Dear Kazuo, I miss you. You okay?

Give a kiss for me to Masato.
Write to me. Okay? Wee

I'm going to pour this.

Yes, that's okay.

Very good!


I should have taken better care of him.

I probably gave him a hard time.

I know it wasn't easy for you in school.


Did his heart become as hard as stone

because of Mom?

How could you even say that!

Of course not!

Your mother was like...

a goddess to him.

A goddess?

If not for your mother,

this Ramen shop may not have survived.

Whenever they were back in Japan,

he tried very hard to create a new flavour.

Their creation brought
more customers to our shop.

He kept her memory alive
with every bowl of Ramen.

You get the bill.

Right, let's go!

Take care of yourself.

All the best!

Thanks Grandma.

- Kota, you're in good hands!
- Be good! See you later!

Father, I don't want to go!

Masato, wait!

What can I get for you?

Pork rib soup and dough fritters.

You mean Yao Zha Guai?

That's it, Yao Zha Guai.

Pork rib soup and fried fritters.

Are you Japanese?


How are you?

I'm fine.

Can you speak Japanese?

A little.

I like the TV show, Oshin.


Do you like Japanese music?


Do you like pork rib soup?


I like pork rib soup.

The soup is so good.

The soup tastes just like Ramen broth.

This is the best pork
rib soup in Singapore!

I'm glad you like it.


Nice to meet you.

I am Masato Yamamoto.

It feels like we've known
each other for a long time.

I'm Miki.

This is a small gift from Takasaki.

Thank you.

Don't mention it.



This is my favourite chicken rice stall.

Even Gordon Ramsay
came here to learn from them.

Roast and steamed chicken.

And a plate of beansprouts.

Wow, you can speak Mandarin?

I've lived here for many years.

I see.

Thank you.

Thank you.



These are the sauces for the chicken rice.

They are made with fresh
chilli, ginger, and garlic,

and most importantly, calamansi juice.


The good ones use freshly squeezed juice

instead of rice vinegar.

Oh, I see.

You can tell just by smelling it.

Wow, it smells amazing!

Now smell the rice.


Isn't it?

You can tell the rice
is cooked well because

each grain is plump and unbroken.

The smell comes from
lemongrass, ginger, garlic

and pandan leaves which is commonly

used in Southeast Asia
to give flavour and colour.

Pandan leaves?

Now, look at the chicken.

The really good ones have
a layer of jelly under the skin.

Look at it.

I see it.


You really know your chicken rice!

Shall we eat?

Let's eat!


Isn't it good?

It's really delicious.

I'm glad you like it.

I've forgotten it tasted this good!

I was born here,

and I lived here for a
while with my parents.

Yes, you've mentioned it.

For how long?

Until I was ten.

You haven't been back since?


In fact,

I came here to look for my uncle.

My mother used to take
me to his pork rib soup shop.

I just can't forget it.

It has been on my
mind for the longest time.

A bit spicy, isn't it?

Very spicy!

- But very tasty, ya?
- It's really delicious.


There's so much garlic!

What brought you here to Singapore?

I came here and got married.

Your husband is Singaporean?


I mean, ex-husband.


It's alright.

It's so good.

This is good too.

I should try it.

Give it a try.


Oh, Masato.

I decided to drop by.

This is my boss Hideki.

Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you. Welcome to Singapore.

Have a seat.

Excuse me.

What a nice bar.

Thank you.

This is Mr Keisuke.

He is a celebrity Ramen
shop owner in Singapore.

Oh! Thank you.

This is Masato Yamamoto.

His family runs a famous
Ramen shop in Takasaki.

I see.

I am Masato Yamamoto.

Nice to meet you, I'm Keisuke.

Nice to meet you.

Mr Keisuke has had an interesting journey.

From being a Ramen champion in Tokyo

to opening his chain of Ramen shops here.

He even trained as a French chef!


Miki, it was a struggle in the beginning.

Is that so?

I hardly had any
customers in the first year.

I was worried that my
business would close down.

I thought I knew what Singaporeans liked

but I was wrong.

It was challenging but a
great learning experience.

My father was a chef here in the 80s.

Cooking Ramen?

No, Kaiseki.

I see.

He must have been one of
the pioneer Japanese chefs.

His boss sent him here
during the economic boom

and his customers were mostly Japanese.


Today is my day off.

The restaurant is open
only for you tonight.

Take a seat.

I'm not cooking Kaiseki tonight but

many popular Japanese dishes for you.

Thank you.



Here is the sashimi.

Wasabi and soya sauce.

Thank you for the dinner, it was delicious.

You are welcome.

Today is your day off?

Why don't you spend it with your family?

I have no family here.

That's why on my days off,

I go everywhere to eat pork rib soup.

On your next day off,

can I give you a treat?

To thank you for this wonderful dinner.

Barbeque pork buns.

Barbeque pork buns.

Prawn dumpling, pork dumpling.

Prawn dumpling, pork dumpling.

Pork dumpling.

And Big Bun.

Big Bun!

Big Bun.

So big!

Big Bun.

Try it.

Let's eat.

I wish I could read Japanese.

Japanese comics.


I will teach you.

A balloon is …

It's a balloon …

coming through the window.

… coming from the outside.

The balloons.

Let me teach you how to cut this.

Yes … okay?

I found this in my father's room.

My mother's journal.


It's written in Mandarin though …

May I take a look?


Your mother took this journal with her

on her first trip to Japan.

She stopped but started writing again

when she realised she was sick.

The entries were her
personal messages to you.

This journal is like …

a quilt of memories that
she stitched together.

Does it make sense?

She also left you many recipes.

Minced pork, steamed egg, chicken curry …

and her soups!

Mom always had soup for us.

What else is in there?

Your mother wanted to
reconcile with your grandmother.

What happened between them?

She didn't go into detail.

It was her hope that

one day a real photo
will replace this drawing.

Please continue.

Your father always talked
about his home city of Takasaki.

He said it was very beautiful.

In Takasaki, there is a huge
statue of the Goddess of Mercy.

You can climb the statue

and enjoy the view and greenery.

In Singapore,

I was looking for a place to
give him comfort for a long time.

It's beautiful.

I know that you miss home.

I have sacrificed a lot
to get to where I am.

Mei Lian.

I know that I can make a lot
of people happy with my food.

But only one person's happiness matters …

I can't imagine how much time and effort

you spent researching these foods.

Koki used to say it's
like treasure hunting.


My son.

Not that I'm complaining,

but he's the reason I work two jobs.

He looks like you.

You think so?

I'd love to meet him one day.

I always thought my blog
was just a frivolous hobby.

It never occurred to me that
one day I could help someone

because of it.

If not for you, I wouldn't
even know where to start.

In that case, I should charge
a fee for being your tour guide.


Please keep it affordable.


Labourers used to carry goods
from the ships to the warehouses.

It was hard labour, and
they needed their strength.

They couldn't afford meat.

So they boiled pork bones in
Chinese herbs for nourishment.

I see.

I know someone who may
know the old pork rib soup sellers.


Hopefully they know where
your uncle has moved to.

The name of a World War 2 exhibition

housed at the Former Ford
Factory building has been changed

after strong reaction from the public.

Some Singaporean felt Syonan Gallery

glorified a painful chapter
in the country's history

and caused a lot of hurt
to those who suffered

and lost family members
during the Japanese Occupation.

Syonan Gallery: War And
Its Legacies will be renamed

Surviving the Japanese Occupation:

- War And Its Legacies.
- Uncle Akio calling.

All these shops are food related?


Amazing, right?



They're handmade.

It's interesting.

This is the place!



Though Bak Kut Teh
literally means Pork Bone Tea,

the tea is not actually
in the bowl with the soup.

I see.

That's interesting.

It was common practice then.

After their meal of pork rib soup,

customers would have tea
and catch up with their friends

So the meal not only
helps fill your stomach,

it also helps you bond with your friends.

I see.

He looks like Ah Wee from
Heng Rong Pork Rib Soup.

He was so young then!

I heard he's opened his own place.

What's it called?

I can't remember.

Wang, do you remember
that cheeky boy Ah Wee?

He used to make me laugh all the time.

What's his new shop called?

Reunion Pork Rib Soup Restaurant.

Let's eat.

Would you like some soup?

And you?



Thank you, enjoy yourselves.

How can I help you?

You want some more soup?

And you?


Thank you.

Where did you get this picture?



Come in!

We're back

My nephew.


My wife.

Just call her Auntie.

Come in.

The two of you, come out of your room!

Come and meet your cousin.

Come on.

Say hello.

Hello! Hi!

Sit, sit.

Please take a seat.

Thank you.

Masato, this is a Singaporean
home cooked dinner.

It's very delicious, cooked by my wife.

Thank you for cooking.

Come on, let's start eating!

Let's eat!

Thank you.

Masato, I think you should stay with us.

I have an extra store room.

I mean I have an extra room.

A spare room.

It's okay.

Come on, your hotel room is so expensive.

Don't feel bad.

Just pay me half your hotel rate.

I am just kidding.

Come, try the fish.

- This fish is very expensive.
- Very delicious.

Thank you.

Don't worry about it.

Have some soup.

Give him some soup.

My father was Teochew.

He was a great cook.

My mother is Cantonese.

Also a great cook.

Delicious, right?

Masato, have you visited the Singapore Zoo?


Jurong Bird Park?


Then why are you here?

Just to look for me?


Can you teach me how to cook pork rib soup?

I want to take it back to Japan.

You are not here for a holiday?

Young man, pork rib soup
is not an easy dish to cook.

I always think of Mom's cooking,

and your pork rib soup.

Your father used to crave my pork rib soup.

I would send it all the way to your home.

But I didn't mind it!

Because it made everybody happy.

My parents are gone.

I want to remember them
by cooking pork rib soup.


Can I ask you something?

You've come all the way from Japan.

Of course you can ask.

I found my mother's old diary.

She wrote about Grandma.

Why have I not met her?



Wow, what is this?

Try it.

Alright then. Let's eat.

How is it?


Glad you like it!

This is really good.

What is this?

This is called Fish Head Curry.

It was created by an
Indian man in Singapore.

I suppose that the different
races and cultures in Singapore

are reasons for the variety
found in Singaporean cuisine!

Yes, you're absolutely right.

Many Singapore hawkers started by

selling food on pushcarts in the street.

Pork rib soup and Ramen
both started out as street food.

They were cheap and
mainly food for the labourers,

but are now so popular
they've become national dishes.

Did you know that Ramen
is a fairly new dish in Japan?

It wasn't as popular in the past.

Oh yes, it was called Chinese
Noodles back then, right?

And now Ramen is one of the
most popular foods in Japan.

Are you excited to finally learn
how to make pork rib soup?

That's the reason why I came to Singapore.

You're hooked, aren't you?

You are like Ramen, a blend of
Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

You think so?


The good part of both
cultures runs in your blood.

I hope that is true …



Let's go.

Wake up.

The kitchen is over there.

Okay, Masato.

You have to choose the freshest ribs.

The fresh ones are bloody.

Blood, okay.


You have to chop them about 2 inches thick.

2 inches!

2 inches!

2 inches!



All the ribs here are for making the soup.

This is what you ate that day.

These ribs are fresh.

There are also traces of blood.

And the meat must be tender

See? Tender.


Yes! Springy.

We cook the soup first.

Boil for at least 5 hours.

5 hours.


The soup will then be very sweet.


And fresh!


After which you must add pepper.


From Sarawak in Malaysia.

Sarawak, Malaysia.

It's the best.



Singapore is very humid.

The pepper will help to
expel wind from your body.


And also, garlic.

We have to use old garlic.

Old is good.

Like you.

Next is salt?

After it's been boiled for 5 hours.

We add another kind of pork rib inside.

On low fire, we cook
it for another 5 hours.

Low heat, 5 hours.

Yes, 5 hours.

Ribs for eating.

Cook for 45 minutes.

45 minutes.


After 45 minutes, the
water comes to a boil.

Turn down the heat.

Cook it over low heat.

Why do we call the dish Bak Kut Teh?

It was customary to drink
Chinese tea after eating pork ribs.


When you pour the tea,
you have to do it clockwise.

Clockwise, like so.

I see.

That's it.



Try it.

Thank you.


Blow on it before drinking.









Okay, come.

Let's eat the pork ribs,
and then drink the tea.


Two more scoops?

Yes, that's about right.

Just a little more

A little more?

This much?


Please go ahead.



How is it?

My mouth is watering.

Two more to go.

Counting on you!

You two are a fantastic team.

Do you think so?

Sometimes he doesn't even lift a finger.

He's in a good mood today.

Mom, that's because you are the best cook.

You don't need my help.

Oh thank you, but I need you.

Of course, I need you.

Tonight I can enjoy a
nice home cooked meal!

I'm done!

Thank you for cooking!

Thank you.

I'm off to bed soon.

Good night!

He's very mature.

Is that so?

Are you two always like that?

Like what?

So frank and candid with one another?

Not your typical Japanese?

You could say that.

I was always with my mother
in the kitchen when she cooked.

I used to cling to her apron.

After she passed away,

I couldn't fall asleep without her apron.

It smelt of milk and flour
and reminded me of her.

And even though it was dirty,
I wouldn't let anyone wash it.

I treasured it.

I still have it with me today.

This is my favourite.

Help yourself.

Coconut flavour.

It's delicious.

Both of you do as I tell you.

And for you, I have done my best.

The rest depends on your luck.

Please be nice to her, okay?



You are all here.

Come on in.


Come in!

We brought ingredients
to cook a delicious meal.

Why bother to cook when
you are so busy at the shop?

We can eat out.

It's alright.

Who is this?

One of your employees?

What a handsome young man.

You look just like a Korean idol.

What's your name?

Mom, his name is Masato.

Ma … what?

Mei Lian's son.

Hello, Grandma.



Mom, open the door!

Come and meet your Grandson.


You want to marry that foreigner

who comes to the shop every week?

How well do you know him?

He's so much older than you.

For all you know,

he already has a wife and kids in Japan.

No, he doesn't.

We've been together for a year and a half.

A year and a half?

And you're only telling me now?

In your heart,

is that man more important
to you than your mother?

I'm sorry, Mom.

You two know why our
family hates the Japanese.

They killed your grandfather.

And now you want to marry one of them?

Mom, that happened so long ago!

Isn't it good that Sis has
found someone who loves her?

Are you two ganging up on me?


Are you really going to leave Kazuo?

What choice do I have?

You do have a choice.

Just follow your heart.

I can tell that Kazuo really cares for you.

Marry him.

But Mom said she would disown me.

After a while, she will forgive you.

You really think so?

That's why she did it?

Because of you?

It was a mistake.

I thought your grandmother was
just trying to scare your mother.

Then things got worse.

Relatives started to talk behind her back.

After she got married,

Grandma stopped talking to her.

Why is she so mean?


I've taught you how to cook
our family's pork rib soup.

Can you promise me one thing?

Just leave Grandma alone.

I remember walking down New Bridge Road.

And my father had gone ahead,

and I was walking behind him,

looking at all the people
who are dead and dying.

And the smell, you get the
smell of dead, dying, rotten bodies

and things like smoke,

haze was still around.

I came across a Chinese lady,

she had a baby in her arms
and the baby was crying.

And I thought, oh, poor baby, it's hungry,

I'll go and pick it up and take it.

We had first aid posts all
over the place by this time.

I'll take the baby to them.

Before I could get to her, a
Japanese sentry came down,

went to the woman, picked the baby up

and I thought, oh, he's going
to take the baby to the first aid.

You know what he did?

He threw the baby up in the air

and let it fall on the point of his blade.

And I could see the blood running down.

I was horrified.

I couldn't believe what I'd seen.

I thought my mind was playing tricks,

I thought it must be my imagination.

When I first arrived in Takasaki,

I was carrying so much pain and fear.

But slowly, I was able to heal.

The Goddess of Mercy
earned the right to enter Nirvana

but gave that up and remained
on earth to ease human suffering.

The Japanese believe that the
Daruma doll can grant wishes.

And when your wish is fulfilled,

you dot the other eye.

I learnt that when
life's toils get too much,

the beauty of nature is a good remedy.

It soothes and shields
us from life's ugly realities.

Of course, we know
that nothing lasts forever.

Nature's frailty reminds
us that life is delicate.

Life is fleeting.

We need to fight and
protect what is precious.

I took a bold step

but I believe I made the right decision.

Mom has always been strong willed.

When Father died, she
took care of the business.

At that time, some customers said

Without her Teochew husband,

this Cantonese woman can't
possibly make good pork rib soup.

But she made it even better.

Your mother must have been devastated.

She wasn't just devastated.

She was angry at the whole world.

My sister died six
months after falling ill.

It's terrible for a parent
to have to bury her child.

She didn't even get to
see Mei Lian one last time.

Don't you think that's pitiful.


I think you've had enough.

Don't you think my grandmother is horrible?

That Madam Lee …

Why did my mother have to suffer?

She didn't do anything bad.

Give me another shot.

You should stop.

Another shot, please.

How could you do that to your own daughter?

I don't understand a word you're saying.

You're being a nuisance.


Wait, wait.

Because of you,

this is all I have left of her.

Do you know what this is?

Mom's journal.

It is filled with sorrow.

Did you enjoy torturing her?

Just because Father was Japanese,

it was his fault?

Is that his fault?

Doesn't matter where he's from, does it?

Doesn't matter where he's from, does it?

So what? Why am I here?

Do I not exist to you?

How dare you shout at me?

What do you know?

Because of you,

my mother died in sorrow.

I'm left with nothing.

I'm left with nothing!

They loved each other.

See for yourself.

Get lost!

Miki: Did you get home safely last night?


It's so late, what are you doing?

This is for Grandma.

She's so angry with you

and you want to do this for her?

She won't accept it.

But I must try.

It's also for my mother.


Why are you putting chicken into the pot?

I want to make a very
special Ramen for Grandma.

How is it special?

Ramen mixed with Bak Kut Teh.

Ramen Teh?

Good idea!

Maybe I can help you!

Mr Keisuke.


What a nice restaurant.

Shall we start?


I prepared this for you.

Thanks for your help.

I know that you're busy.

Not a problem at all.

Oh yes, Mr Keisuke, I made a new one.



What do you think?

Very tasty!

I'm relieved.

For this broth, I think you
should go with thin noodles.

Straight, thin noodles.

Should I add more water then?

Besides the amount of water,

you must also think about
the type of flour we use,

especially in Singapore's humid weather.

I see.

It's good.

Glad to hear that.

Mom, Masato wishes to
apologise for the other night.

He asked me to teach him
how to make pork rib soup.

He created a special Ramen dish for you

and hopes you can forgive him.

There is a void in my
heart that I cannot fill.

The past plays constantly in my mind.

I dream of going back to the good old days.

Mom and my little brother,

I miss how we used to be.

I am Masato.

Very good.

Can you teach me more Mandarin?


I am crazy.

I am crazy.

… crazy?

I am crazy.

Hey, crazy.

Someone is here to see you.

I am crazy.

I am crazy.

I will teach you how to cook these dishes.



Small pieces.

That's correct.

Same amount.

Yes, yes!

Stir it.

Stir it?

I see.

Thank you,

Thank you for the food. Let's eat.

This taste…

Let's eat


I am sorry.

Hi, table for two?

This way please.


Let's eat.