Gentle and unassuming, Ramen Shop involves Masato (Takumi Saitoh – 13 Assassins, Blank 13) leaving Japan to travel to Singapore as he looks to find out more about the early life of his now deceased parents.
On the death of his father, Masato leaves the family ramen shop in the hands of an uncle and heads to Singapore. The place of his birth, he looks to embark on a culinary journey and understand home truths about the past. Food has always been an important part of Masato’s life yet his loving Chinese mother, who died when he was young, was a mystery. With support from food blog writer, Miki (Seiko Matsuda – Tombstone of the Fireflies, Armageddon), he uncovers long-kept family secrets.
Director Eric Khoo (Tatsumi, Be With Me), credited with the revivial of the Singapore film industry over the last 30 years, touches upon the complex history of Singapore and Japan. But Ramen Shop is more a celebration of food and the cultural role it plays in bringing people together. Sadly, nostaglia wins out in a film that, whilst sweet and easy to watch, could have benefitted with more balancing sour.