The 1st annual Ramen Yokocho Fest was so much fun! I’m so glad that my Foodie Friends and I got there early to be the first in line. The crowd was worse than the ones at an airport or an amusement park. I must say that my friend came up with a game plan to tackle the crowds, which made getting the food super easy. Our game plan…1.) Pick a vendor, 2.) Buy 4 bowls of the same ramen, and 3.) Meet at the tables so we can serve each soup family-style. The game plan made it so much easier to try all each ramen served by each of the 12 restaurants.
Generally, it was very hard to judge who had the best one. Each vendor had something so delectably good and different that you really couldn’t compare apples to oranges. or should I say, ramen to ramen.
Remember, making ramen is a skillful art and not one chef makes it the same. But since I have to talk food, The Ramen Burgers from Ikemen was nothing special. The ramen bun fell apart and the burger really was a plain hamburger patty topped with dark soy, lettuce, and tomato.
On the other hand, I loved the Pork Belly Ramen Burger from Jidaiya Ramen. It literally was a deconstructed bowl of ramen that you can eat with your hands! This ramen burger was mighty tasty!
The most unique ramen was the one from Iroha Ramen, which was a Black Mapo Ramen. It’s a combination ramen soup/Mapo Pork sauce. This dish was incredibly savory as it was delicious! It truly was a fusion of the best of Japanese and Chinese cuisines. The ramen from Honolulu, Hawaii’s Gomaichi was winner as was the one from Silverlake Ramen. Ramen Shalala from Mountainview, California (San Jose area) had the most thickest Miso Ramen broth. The broth was more for dipping than for slurping from a spoon.
The shocker for me was Kitakata Ramen Bannai, because I felt ramen was way better than what the food bloggers said on the internet. Kitakata Ramen Bannai came direct from Japan to serve their infamous handmade curley ramen noodles at the Ramen Yokocho Fest. The noodles and the broth was a perfect harmony! The delicate noodles had a nice bite to it and the broth was very clean and bright yet not too salty like all the others.
Considering that this inaugural Ramen Yokocho Fest had a huge turn out, it does not surprise me that next year’s festivities will be bigger like almost as big as the 626 Night Market. In fact, I would love that they return next year…bigger and better! What made this event different from the rest was the purchase of food and drink tickets. Oh yeah, you really had to decided right then and there as to how much you wanted to eat before going into the venue. I think the best approach is to buy more food and drink tickets than you need and sell the ones that you don’t need after you get full.