Ramen Yokocho Fest is largest ramen show in the US. It took place on March 29-30 2014 at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. The 2013 events welcomed over 30,000 people in Los Angeles and over 15,000 people in Las Vegas. This year’s festival featured exclusive menus from 14 popular ramen shops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, and Japan. Ramen bowls were $8 per bowl plus $5 admission to Santa Anita Park and $4 parking.
Let’s take a look at what we tried:
I wanted to see what the Ramen Burger craze was about. Fujin offered the Tonkotsu Spicy Miso Ramen Burger. It was described as “fresh vegetables and a beef patty dressed in spicy miso sauce sandwiched between buns made with tonkotsu-flavored chewy noodles”. The line was long so we decided to stand in that one first. As I got to the front of the line, they ran out of burger patties so we had to wait until more were put on the flat top grill. When I finally got one, it was already falling apart. The ramen noodles were unraveling and it was very hard to eat. I noticed that it was only slightly browned on the outside and not the inside (maybe they forgot to flip it, browning both sides would keep the ramen noodles together). The noodles were also very bland and the burger patty was obviously frozen and preformed. The sauce wasn’t spicy and didn’t really help the flavor of the burger at all. Being my first time trying this “craze”, I was not impressed.
While in line for the Ramen Burger, my step-dad went over to Men Oh to get a bowl of their Authentic Tokushima Ramen. It was described as “rich soup made by simmering lots of pork bones for 16 hours”. The ramen broth was good but was missing an ingredient to put it over the top for me, maybe a little bit of ajinomoto. The ramen was cooked to perfection. The only thing missing when compared to the brochure picture was the egg yolk. Men Oh just celebrated their grand opening in Torrance, CA in February 2014. Tokushima ramen originated from Tokushima, Japan. Men-Oh is rated one of the best out of 300 ramen shops in Tokushima.
Since ramen is very filling, our last bowl was Daikokuya’s Tonkotsu Ramen with the Umami of Bonito. It was described as “the umami of bonito is added to their original ramen – mild soup, curly noodles, and tender chashu marinated in a secret sauce”. No one could ever complain that their soup is cold. The broth was so hot we had a burn incident with my mom’s wrist and my knee. Once we applied ice cold water to our burns, we were able to enjoy the cooled off soup. The bonito made the soup very creamy and rich. The ramen noodles were cooked to perfection and we loved the pork and egg flavors which enriched to status of a meal. All in all, thumbs up, way up on the soup, just order it at the restaurant where you can sit at a table and eat it.
All in all, it’s a pretty good festival, just bring friends and family with you so you can share and try more ramen! There is no way to eat them all yourself, unless you’re training to be a sumo wrestler.
Ramen Yokocho Association
20705 S Western Ave Ste 220
Torrance, CA 90501