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Noodle Engineering: What Making Ramen and Managing Engineering Projects Have in Common

A ramen cooking class team building activity celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Coming from a tech background into starting a ramen cooking class business, I have always felt there’s a lot of similarities between crafting a perfect bowl of ramen and tackling a complex engineering project. At first glance, they might seem worlds apart—one involving culinary finesse and the other technical prowess. However, upon closer inspection, you'll find surprising parallels that highlight the universal principles of creativity, precision, and problem-solving. Let's delve into the delicious world of ramen and the intricate realm of engineering to uncover what makes them more alike than you might think.

1. The Art of Ingredient Selection

Just as an engineer carefully selects materials and components for a project, a ramen chef meticulously chooses the finest ingredients to create a harmonious flavor profile. From the type of noodles to the broth base, every element plays a crucial role in the final product. Similarly, in engineering, the choice of materials can determine the performance, durability, and overall success of a design.

2. Precision and Measurement

Both ramen-making and engineering demand precise measurements and calculations. Whether it's weighing the exact amount of flour and water in making the perfect chewy noodles, measuring the viscosity for bone broth or the precise dimensions for a mechanical component, attention to detail is paramount. Just as a slight deviation in ingredient proportions can alter the taste and texture of a bowl of ramen, a minor error in engineering calculations can have significant consequences for a project's outcome.

3. Iterative Process

Ramen perfection isn't achieved in a single attempt—it requires experimentation, adjustment, and refinement. Similarly, engineering projects often undergo multiple iterations before reaching an optimal solution. Whether it's tweaking a recipe or fine-tuning a design, the iterative process is essential for continuous improvement and innovation.

4. Problem-Solving Mindset

Both ramen chefs and engineers approach challenges with a problem-solving mindset. Whether it's troubleshooting a recipe that's too salty or addressing unexpected technical issues, they rely on creativity and ingenuity to overcome obstacles. Flexibility and adaptability are key as they navigate unforeseen hurdles on the path to success.

5. Modular Approach

The modular approach in engineering projects involves breaking down a system or project into smaller, self-contained modules or components. Each module serves a specific function or task, and they can be designed, developed, tested, and maintained independently of each other. In making ramen, every component such as noodles, toppings, tare and broth are breaking down and done separately. We assemble them into a bowl of ramen.

6. Collaboration and Teamwork

Behind every bowl of delicious ramen and every successful engineering project is a team of individuals working together towards a common goal. Collaboration fosters synergy, allowing diverse perspectives to contribute to the creative process. Whether it's a bustling ramen kitchen or a dynamic engineering team, effective communication and teamwork are essential for achieving excellence.

In conclusion, the seemingly disparate worlds of ramen-making and engineering projects share fundamental principles that transcend their surface differences. Both require a blend of creativity, precision, problem-solving, and teamwork to achieve exceptional results. As a result, many of our engineering/technical team building customers find that the process of learning how to master a perfect bowl of ramen as intriguing. If you’re managing an engineering team, book our advanced making workshop for your team so that they can take a moment to appreciate the engineering marvel behind its creation—and perhaps find inspiration for their next project!


Manville Chan

Manville Chan is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer at The Story of Ramen.

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