Abandoned by her boyfriend after following him to Tokyo, an American slacker adrift in a foreign culture witnesses the healing power of food and determines to become a ramen chef. When Abby (Brittany Murphy) arrived in Tokyo, she assumed she was starting a new life with her boyfriend. But that future fades when Abby's boyfriend disappears, leaving her to fend for herself in a city she doesn't understand. In desperate need of a little consolation, the floundering American begins frequenting her neighborhood ramen shop. She feels comfortable there, and recognizes how happy food can make people by the radiant smiles on the customer's faces. Convinced that her true calling is to become a ramen chef, Abby eventually persuades the restaurant's temperamental, tyrannical Japanese chef to become her mentor in the art of making ramen. Though at first their relationship is almost unbearably contentious, the master and his student eventually find a common ground when Abby realizes that the secret ingredient to true ramen is a universe of feeling.