ISSUE ONE: RAMEN

Issue one’s theme is Ramen—fitting, as Dave Chang has carved out a worldwide reputation as a devoted proponent of the stuff. Lucky Peach #1 is chockablock with ramen recipes, but it also raises questions about the notion of authenticity and broadens the culinary possibilities of instant ramen.
FROM “THINGS WERE EATEN,” PETER MEEHAN AND DAVE CHANG’S TRAVELOGUE:
Chang pretends like he doesn’t know any Japanese, but that is not entirely true. He was able to navigate the vending machine system (there was some English) and ordered himself a miso tsukemen, and abura ramen for me. He lost so bad. Mine was a decent-sized bowl of thick, chewy noodles—the very picture of yellow alkaline noodles. They were an eye-opener for me, because people would kill themselves for these noodles in New York—so firm, so chewy. I need to resist the temptation to use words like “better than any ramen noodle I’ve ever had before” and just hone in on their thickness, their chewiness, and how well suited they were to the treatment they got. They were topped with julienne nori, a pile of fatty shredded-ish pork, sliced scallions (which look firmer and more resolutely round and tubular than the scallions in the states) and a generous plop of chili-dried scallop-sugar condiment. The kicker? No broth! It was just “abura”—a bunch of pork fat on it. It was a version of abura ramen that I don’t think he had seen before, and I certainly hadn’t. It was so solid from this bullshit place in the middle of nowhere. I tried Dave’s and the shit was anemic. He went back to the vending machine and ordered a second abura and we crushed it. Then he pulled some Japanese out of his ass and asked for a carafe of the unseasoned broth. “He thought I was just some stupid foreigner. Didn’t see that coming.” We agreed that they probably still thought we were stupid foreigners, but that’s a hard point to argue: we are.

JAPAN JOURNAL
by David Chang & Peter Meehan
Illustrations by Lindsay Mound

4 | Lucky Peach Lucky Peach | 4

PETER MEEHAN AND DAVE CHANG DOCUMENT THEIR TRAVELS

Chang, Meehan, and the Zero Point Zero crew flew all over the world to produce videos for the companion Lucky Peach iPad app. In issue one, they’ll document their trip from Tennessee to San Sebastián to Tokyo.

ASSORTED ART FROM ISSUE ONE

HOW TO MAKE RAMEN-FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS BY GABRIELE STABILE AND MARK IBOLD

A COMIC BY MATT VOLZ

RAMEN HEROES BY MIKE HOUSTON CHOPSTICK HUMOR BY DAVID REES

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