About Ramen Culture
The man behind Ramen Culture is Mark Hoshi, an LA native originally born in Tokyo who followed a path back to one of his motherland’s most iconic dishes: ramen.
Growing up Japanese American in Los Angeles, he had many experiences with the diversity of America’s rich immigrant culture. Mark learned the power of food to connect people to their heritage and others. Mark met so many different people from all walks of life, where was able to deeply connect with people and the food of their culture. Being so connected to others made Mark realize his own desire and curiosity to connect more deeply with his own Japanese culture and where he came from.
Around this time, his uncle serendipitously was starting a family business in hospitality in Japan and offered Mark an opportunity to manage the business. There was one condition: that he would start from the bottom as a dishwasher. Mark could not pass up on the opportunity to return to Japan, although restarting a career at age 30 as a dishwasher was a humbling experience.
After his long work days, he found comfort in the simplicity and nostalgia of eating a bowl of ramen. Ramen was something he found he could eat everyday and also was found on almost every corner of Tokyo. Mark and his now wife spent many of their first dates over a bowl of ramen. Making ramen from scratch became one of his favorite things to do for his wife. Ramen became more than just food, it became a way to connect.
In addition to working full time, he sought an apprenticeship under chef Ikuta at Ramen Nagi. It was here that he first learned the fundamentals of ramen shops and their culture. Eventually, Mark felt called to pursue ramen full time. He then quit his regular job in hospitality to work in the highest-rated ramen shop in Japan, Menya Itto under chef Sakamoto. For the next 2 years, he dedicated his life to the intricacies of making an authentic Japanese ramen. Mark worked 15 hours a day, 6 days a week, perfecting a variety of traditional types of ramen, some of which require up to 2 days to cook.
After spending nearly a decade in Japan, Mark returned to the United States with the knowledge to fill in the gaps in American’s understanding of authentic Japanese ramen culture. With the perspective he’s gained, he sees many opportunities in the U.S. for expanding Americans’ tastes and knowledge of ramen. Mark’s hopes are to move the conversation forward and leave his own mark on ramen culture.