Life as Told by Ramen

By Ganteng Boy

Ramen is a simple soup dish. The origin? debated between China or Japan, depending on the source – either way, it is delicious. The dish consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or fish broth; and, it commonly includes toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, menma and green onions.

Historically, ramen was regarded as a simple meal when eating out. Food vendors served piping hot ramen in portable food stalls. You can find these food stalls all over Asia to this very day.


It wasn’t until recently in the seventies, according to Nissin Foods, that Ramen was mass produced and exported from Japan. Our beloved cup of Ramen fueled the appetite of hungry, frugal college students all over the world. And to that, I extend my gratitude for this bold business move. Disregard the potentially risky things associated with instant ramen (see here), it is safe to say that my late night binge study habits could not have been fueled by any snack substitute.


But today, ramen has taken on a radical new approach. There is no definitive source as to when the movement took place, but my best guess is that as of the past decade, there is a revolution taking place within the ramen world, specifically in the North American restaurant scene. Ramen has gone hipster.


Jinya Ramen – Tonkotsu Spicy with Egg, Corn, Kikurage and Dried Seaweed

When in Houston, Jinya Ramen solidifies its position as one of the highest rated ramen bars in town. The establishment is commonly compared to ramen businesses in New York, LA, or even local establishments. Some of the popular recommendations include: thick noodles (as oppose to thin noodles), the Takoyaki appetizer and ordering an additional egg. As for which ramen bowl to order? The patron’s favorite is Cha Cha Cha.


So what does this all have to do with life?

If ramen can take on a complete 360 degree rotation in perception from being cheap fast food to a reasonably priced dining option, what stands between positioning your personal brand from the next eligible candidate.

Think dream career opportunity, grad school, promotion, America’s Top Model, award finalist, Nobel Peace prize recipient.. ahem, got carried away after America’s Top Model.

Sure, you might think to yourself: “I don’t have the proper qualifications, the pedigree or the money to pursue my dreams, etc.”… Those are all self limiting beliefs.

Going back to the college example, I was once a college undergraduate student. I did not have the GPA, or the work experience, or the networking connections that some of my friends had; however, this did not stop me from trying. Like ramen, I found a way to re-position my personal brand to be more attractive and palatable to career recruiters, so that one day I can have my dream job. Whether it’s getting the internship experience, networking with the strategic group of people, or studying a little bit more efficiently to get the grades that are needed – I embraced change.

You have to see the change in yourself. When you do, embrace it, because it is going to be a kick ass ride.

If ramen noodles can change in perception from a cheap quick snack to a hipster dining option where people are willing to pay egregious sums of money (hyperbole) for wheat noodles and broth, I mean c’mon, what’s stopping you from becoming the change that you see in yourself?


circa 2006


recent-ish 2016


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