Ramen Teh (PG)
Starring Takumi Saito, Mark Lee, Seiko Matsuda, Jeanette Aw
Directed by Eric Khoo
After his father’s (Tsuyoshi Ihara) death, Japanese ramen chef Masato (Takumi Saito) takes a trip to Singapore where he learns more about local cuisines and his late Singaporean mum (Jeanette Aw) and her estranged family.
Former ’80s J-pop idol Seiko Matsuda plays an expat food blogger and Masato’s local chow guide and Mark Lee — major scene-stealer! — is the young man’s uncle who teaches him the art of making bak kut teh (pork rib soup).
Masato, in turn, is inspired to concoct the eponymous hybrid dish. Hurray for him. Most of the time, Eric Khoo’s tribute to the healing power of comfort food is marred by the on-the-nose travelogue dialogue (at some point, I was expecting Kym Ng, Bryan Wong or Pornsak to drop in for a cameo) and clunky melodrama (it’s hard to buy Aw and Ihara as a couple when they have zero chemistry).
Apart from the mandatory mouth-wetting food porn shots (they’re pretty softcore, actually), I wish there was more meat, so to speak, to the story. In Japanese, English, Mandarin and Cantonese. (** 1/2)