Directed by Juzo Iami this is a tremendously enjoyable, touching and stylish film exploring, amongst other things, the relationship between eating and sex (the scene involving a gangster, his moll and a raw egg has to be seen to be believed!).
At the heart of it all is a young widow named Tampopo (played by Nobuko Miyamoto) who is struggling to make ends meet by running a noodle restaurant. Ambling into the story to help her comes Goro, a genial John Wayne kind of urban cowboy (well, actually a truck driver), and together they set out to find the perfect ramen recipe.
Along the way Itami inserts a series of comic vignettes, lightly poking fun at stuffy bureaucrats, macho Japanese males, spaghetti westerns and, especially, the Japanese love affair with food. Wonderful stuff.