Japanese film served with a side of ramen

1985's Tampopo on the menu for inaugural Film Feast

Yash Nijati usually helps others organize pop-up events, but a movie he watched last summer inspired him to initiate his own.

“I love the movie Tampopo,” he said. “I watched it and got a big ramen craving.”

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Nijati figured more people should see the 1985 Japanese “ramen Western” that hit screens while he was still in the womb, but no one should have to watch the appetite-inducing movie without a bowl of steaming noodle soup at hand. So he teamed up with Winner Winner, the three seasoned restaurant professionals who served celebrated Singaporean chicken rice at the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market last summer, to create Film Feast, which happens April 10.

Ramen is fashioned by combining tasty components to create a wonderful meal, Nijati said and Tampopo, a film about the quest for the perfect bowl of ramen, melds numerous storylines to create a succulent cinematic experience.

“The filmmaker really translated the bowl of ramen into a film perfectly,” Nijati said of director Juzo Itami.

Winner Winner’s Chen-Wei Lee of restaurants Wildebeest and the brand new Blacktail Florist in Gastown, Stanley Yung of Dirty Apron and Alain Chow of Bao Bei watched Tampopo long before Nijati, but the trio that moved from Toronto to Vancouver with the intention of opening a ramen shop is riffing on the traditionally pork-topped dish. They’ll contribute something different to the ramen scene by topping their hand-rolled noodles with duck.

Film Feast is happening in the back of Lost + Found Cafe, next to Save on Meats on West Hastings Street.

Moviegoers will be greeted with nori popcorn, can sidle up to a bar and then settle on couches and chairs before Tampopo is projected on a large screen. Duck ramen with nukazuke, or traditional Japanese pickles will be served at a film intermission.

“In the first half of the movie, there’s about a three-minute scene where they give detailed instructions on how to enjoy ramen,” Nijati said.

“First caress the surface with the chopstick tips” is just one pointer included in the tutorial.

Dessert is a butter mochi cake.

“If all goes well we gave three more planned with different movies and different cuisines,” Nijati said.

Film Feast is a side project for Nijati, co-owner of the Chinatown Experiment pop-up facilitating business with a storefront at 434 Columbia St. In its 18 months, Chinatown Experiment has been involved with 42 pop-up events.

While Nijati favours the instant gratification of feeding one’s craving and the fleeting nature of pop-up events, he’s encouraging Film Feast-goers to forego the temptation of watching Tampopo’s trailer online and to attend hungry for a new experience.

“The experience is heightened when you walk into something where you have a general idea but you don’t have set expectations,” he said.

For more information about Film Feast, see duckduckramen.eventbrite.ca. Only 40 tickets will be sold for the affair that starts at 7 p.m. at 33 West Hastings St.

crossi@vancourier.com
twitter.com/Cheryl_Rossi

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