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Ramen Tatsu-Ya offers ramen with a side of cultural education

They were Austin’s first brick-and-mortar ramen shop. Now beloved, Ramen Tatsu-Ya is educating the city about Japanese food one slurp at a time.

AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we visited popular ramen shop Ramen Tatsu-Ya for a taste of bold culture and representation.

"There was a lot of confusion when I would tell people that I was going to open up a ramen shop. They think it’s the instant ramen," said Takuya "Tako" Matsumoto, co-owner and executive chef of Ramen Tatsu-Ya. "Part of what we had to do and what we’re still trying to do is educate people on ramen. That probably ties into Japanese culture."

With the lack of representation for Japanese culture in Austin, the team behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya felt they had a responsibility to create something they wish they would’ve had growing up.

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"The absence of the culture kind of made us want to be hypersensitive. By our first opening, we saw a scurrying of [a] small Japanese population," said Shion Aikawa, partner and senior vice president of culture for Ramen Tatsu-Ya. "We saw a kid eat ramen for the first time here in the States. That was a super prideful moment."

Since the opening of Ramen Tatsu-Ya, the team has opened several restaurants with different nuances of Japanese cuisine, including Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Tiki Tatsu-Ya and DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya. And Austin is loving them!

"There was a ton of happy customers who were really, really into it and very grateful. That really pushed us to keep going and keep getting better," Matsumoto said.

To learn more about Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s story, follow them on Instagram. To slurp up some of their delicious ramen, visit one of their three Austin locations: 1234 South Lamar Blvd., 1600 E. Sixth St. or 8557 Research Blvd.

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