Noodle lovers unite: Fourteen ramen houses from LA to Tokyo will be joining forces March 29 and 30 in Arcadia for the Ramen Yokocho Fest, which bills itself as "the largest ramen show in the U.S." Featured Los Angeles restaurants include Daikokuya, Fujin, Hayatemaru, Jidaiya, Men Oh, Shi-Sen-Gumi, and Tsujita.
Others include Hiromaru and Monta from Las Vegas, Tajima, from San Diego, Shalala from San Jose, and Horaiya, Mattou Seimen, and Tatsunoya from Japan. Several varieties of ramen will be available, from shio and spicy miso to tonkotsu and a "kagoshima-satsuma" variety specially created for the event. And yes, the illustrious, elusive ramen burger will make an appearance as well.
The festival's premiere event took place last year in Torrance, where 30,000 ramen fans gathered and took organizers by surprise. Lines averaged two hours for a single bowl, portion sizes had to be reduced by vendors, and ultimately the soup had sold out hours before the event was scheduled to close. To accommodate crowds and allow more vendors to participate, this year's festival will take place at Santa Anita Park.
Japanese-City.com recommends trying the bowls from Japan and avoiding locally-offered noodles in order to maximize the uniqueness of the festival experience, despite the expectation that the foreign restaurants will also have the longest lines.
While water fountains and vending machines will be available, last year's lines were over an hour long for water. Outside food and beverages will be permitted in the park.
When: March 29, 2014 (Saturday) - March 30, 2014 (Sunday), 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Where: Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007
Price: All ramen $8 each; $5 per person entry fee; $4 parking per car