Published in 1999, Food and Leisure

Tampopo is one of the ultimate movies for food and film mavens. Director Itami takes the viewer through a series of vignettes involving food, farce and some flights of fancy.

Itami uses a gangster and his moll as a kind of thread


For the food lover, Itami gives us the story of a widow trying to provide for herself and her son by running a tiny noodle shop somewhere in Japanese suburbia. She's hopeless, listless and can't seem to make a good noodle. In walks a strapping truck driver and his sidekick, who decide to help her out, enlisting the services of several other souls.

What follows is a series of attempts to find the move perfect union of noodle and broth and yes, make sure you watch this on a full stomach! There are many characters and situations here that dovetail into the main plot. Itami uses a gangster and his moll as a kind of thread (or noodle, if you will) to link all the disparate stories. And the movie even gets a little steamy (what this couple is able to do with egg yolk will redefine breakfast for you). There's also a wonderful scene of an older wise man teaching a younger man how to properly eat a bowl of noodles - very Japanese.

All in all, it's delightful and delicious.