The intimate connections between love and food are what drive the plot of this episodic romantic comedy. Two truck drivers—Goro and Gun—stop at a rundown noodle shop called Lai Lai one night. Thoroughly dissatisfied with the fare, they decide to give the owner a long and rigorous lesson in the art of perfect noodle-making. Yoshi Kato joins in the drama as the old master of the art of ramen who must help the pair improve Lai Lai’s clueless owner Tampopo.
Tampopo is, of course, played by Juzo Itami’s wife Nuboku Miyamoto—this film is another of their collaborative efforts as the power couple of Japanese cinema. What holds this film together is not the plot but the theme of food: the subplots include a gangster who mixes the erotic and the victual for a cryptic, recipe-revealing death, and an old woman who wants to squeeze all of her food.