Thursday, February 28, 2008

You say ramen, I say ramyun.

I went home to Diamond Bar recently and was shocked to discover Han Ah Reum Market had opened a vaginormous supermarket version where Alpha Beta used to be (back in the 1980's before it became Ralph's and then something else).

I walked through the distinctly Asian-but-squeeky-clean-and-not-pungent aisles of dried laver, shrimp, toasted teas and fruit-sweetened sweets and drinks when at the end of one aisle I came across something of a regular addition to large-scale stores - flatscreen TV's running ads for one product line.

The ad was for a Korean packaged ramyun with the Korean flag in the brand. The spokeswoman was wearing a traditional hambok (sp?) and repeatedly uttered "hanguk" in her exortations for the "authentic" yumminess of ramyun by this company. She spoke demurely, politely tilted her head in honorific deference to dear viewer, carefully set metal chopsticks and a miniature ladle on the low cherry wood table alongside a small plate of kim-seaweed, kimchi, and cured mung bean sprouts.

I turned away and kept walking when suddenly, I heard the most death-defying sound ever. I thought it was a hurricane. I thought the cable was pulled from the TV. Maybe feedback. Maybe, maybe the terrorists just stormed through the San Gabriel Valley, for mankind. For the kids. What was that sound?


I turned on my heels, braced myself in the air with surfer-posed hands. Darted my head around at the stack of red bean drinks, at the stack of "well being"-rice cakes.
"What was that?" I panicked.

I looked back at the tv screen and what I beheld brought tears to my eyes. Tears of pride.
Miss Korea circa Chosun Dynasty was slurping her noodle soup with abandon, the furrow in her brow encouraging a bead of sweat down her bridgeless nose. Her shoulders pulled up like the bowl was almost too big for just one woman.

When she was done she looked up with the porcelain perfect face, as if her world wasn't just r-zocked by that ramyun and she said, "ah..."

I love ramen, and this ad deserves a Peabody Award.


Nate said...

don't forget lamian and laghman in the mix!

gr said...

Dude, we like our noodle soup!