The new trendy ramen bar
Koto Ramen celebrates one of the most important traditional Japanese dishes – ramen – has just opened in the historic centre of Florence, between Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrogio.
Ramen, a popular traditional food, is almost a concentrate of Zen philosophy: a seemingly simple dish to make but that requires rigorous preparation and quality ingredients. Roland Barthes, citing Diderot, in his beautiful Empire of Signs, describes the viewing of ingredients “in their nudity” in the Japanese cuisine and the “colour, finesse, touch, effect, harmony and taste”.
Shoji Minamihara is the chef at Koto Ramen. He oversees the preparation of ramen, acting in accordance with the principles of the ancient oriental tradition: using the minimum energy required to perform actions perfectly and that any gesture must be carried out at exactly the right time.
Ramen can be served with meat, vegetables or fish to suit any taste, and using seasonal ingredients, both for cold and hot dishes. The philosophy of ramen is to prepare a very delicate broth, that will let you enjoy the nuances between the different variations.
At Koto Ramen you can also taste Shabu Shabu, a variation of a flat Mongolian dish invented at the times of Genghis Khan for the troops at war. Shabu Shabu is an onomatopoeic name that echoes the sound of pieces of meat falling into boiling water, although some believe that the name might instead recall the whistle of water reaching boiling point.