When I saw the ramen scenes in Stephen Chow's film Shaolin Soccer, I was immediately reminded of Tampopo. While the two films are completely different at heart (Shaolin Soccer is to The Three Stooges as Tampopo is to Woody Allen) they both share these wonderful noodle scenes that serve as euphamisms for larger issues.
I can't agree enough with Jay about what a great film this is. It's quirky and charming and despite being nearly 20 years old, it holds up amazingly well.
There is a restaraunt here in Montreal named after this movie, matter of fact, I think I'll eat there tonight! :)
I've watched that film like, 4 or 5 times since 1989 (I believe that was the first time I saw it on French CBC). It seems to get better with each viewing. I was 14 when I saw it, and I can say that I can watch it with a more appreciative eye.