Why one Arkansas hospital aims to be a destination for authentic Japanese ramen

Little Rock-based Arkansas Heart Hospital is working to improve its menu options and make the facility a destination for a certain Japanese cuisine item, CBS News reports.

Arkansas Heart Hospital Chef Coby Smith has worked to improve the facility's kitchen after CEO Bruce Murphy, MD, said the food served at the hospital was too institutional.

Officials sought to change the quality of the food by incorporating fresh ingredients and ramen noodles –– a personal request by Dr. Murphy.

"I was being a little bit selfish because I love ramen noodles and I figured everybody else would love ramen noodles," Dr. Murphy said.

Dr. Murphy told CBS News he discovered his love for the dish after a trip to Asia, and encouraged Mr. Smith to travel to Tokyo to learn how to prepare authentic ramen.

Upon returning, Mr. Smith reportedly spent eight months attempting to turn his research into "authentic" ramen, incorporating ingredients native to the Southern U.S. While his dishes may not be prepared exactly as they are in Japan, they are a hit among hospital patients and visitors, with employees from neighboring hospitals occasionally coming to Arkansas Heart Hospital for lunch.

"It's been so successful that I can't get ... ramen [in the hospital] because there are other people in line," Dr. Murphy said.

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