86C6CB37594E81F28A945DB3F575D8C830ED5472E8C4BB20EDB989E22D120FFD

Ramen Festival Guide 2014, San Francisco

The Ramen Yokocho Association is putting together “Ramen Street” in San Francisco’s Japantown this weekend, and of course I have to go… This event has been on my calendar for weeks, and quite frankly I salivate at the very thought of ramen ever since I ate my way through Japan 7 months ago.  Actually, I’ve loved ramen since childhood when I was introduced to the instant packets at the tender age of 6.  Real ramen is drastically different; it’s a remarkable combination of savory, slurpy, and smoothness.ate my way through Japan 7 months ago.  Actually, I’ve loved ramen since childhood when I was introduced to the instant packets at the tender age of 6.  Real ramen is drastically different; it’s a remarkable combination of savory, slurpy, and smoothness.

The event features 6 different ramen vendors, serving up all sorts of delicious broths including tonkotsu, miso, shoyu, and even a ramen burger.  That’s right, a ramen burger with a crispy noodle bun!  Just a little information nugget– Keizo of Go Ramen stakes his claim on inventing the first ramen burger. 


The line up for July 19-20, 2014 in SF:

  1. Monta Japanese Noodle House serving Tonkotsu Ramen
  2. Men Oh serving Tokushima Ramen
  3. Fujin Ramen serving the Miso Ramen Burger
  4. Tatsunoya serving Tonkotsu Ramen
  5. Mattou Seimen serving Black Shoyu Ramen and Spicy Ramen
  6. Horaiya serving Miso Ramen and Spicy Miso Ramen

Here’s the lowdown on each vendor:

Monta Japanese Noodle House

  • Has 2 locations–  both in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Menu offers Tonkatsu, Shoyu, Tonkotsu-Shoyu, and Miso broth
  • Solid 4 stars on Yelp
  • Serves “Kurume” style ramen, which is original tonkatsu ramen made from pork bones and imported soy sauce, served with thin noodles

Men Oh 

  • Based in Tokushima, Shikoku
  • 12 locations in Japan
  • 3.5 stars on Yelp 
  • Has 2 locations in Northern California — Union City and San Francisco
  • Serves “Tokushima” style ramen, known for it’s rich and savory pork based broth
  • Menu offers Tokushima , Tokushima Tonkotsu, Spicy Tonkotsu, Chicken Shoyu, Tonkotsu Miso, Men Oh Deluxe, and Teppan Yakimeshi (this sounds excellent)
Teppan Yakimeshi


Fujin Ramen

  • 1 location in Southern California — West Covina
  • 3.5 stars on Yelp
  • Serves “Tokyo Tonkotsu” style ramen
  • Menu offers Shio/Shoyu, Tomato/Clam, Miso, Negi-Miso, Miso Corn, Chashu Trio, Ton-Toro Chashu Men, Spicy Champon, Spicy Tsuke-men, Hakata Tonkotsu ramen

 

Tatsunoya 

  • Hails from Kyushu, Japan.. for reals… they make trips out to the United States every once in awhile.
  • By the way, Kyushu is the mecca of Tonkotsu (pork-based) broth
  • Makes annual appearance at the Mitsuwa Japanese grocery store in Torrance, California
  • Blogged about by Go Ramen by Keizo
  • Influenced by “Hakata and Kurume” styles…. which means pork, pork, and more pork based broth!

Mattou Seimen

  • From Japan
  • Rumors of delicious Szcheuan style Black Mapo ramen served in the April 2014 Yokocho Festival in LA.
  • Read on about the LA Yokocho Festival here and this recap too


Horaiya

  • From Japan
  • Rumors of miso based broth with wontons…. wontons?!
  • Read more about this blogger’s recap of the Yokocho Festival 2014 here
 
As for me?  My list includes Tatsunoya, Mattou Seimen, and Horaiya.  Stay tuned for a blog update on this long awaited meal!

—-Update—-

The Tatsunoya line was the most popular by a landslide.….the people at the front of the  line had been there since 7:00 am.  That’s some noodle devotion!  Men Oh appeared to have generated quite a buzz as well, with another long line (but not quite as long as Tatsunoya).  I arrived at 10:00 am and was able to get into the Mattou Seimen line for the black Shoyu ramen and got my ramen by 10:50 am.  I saw an old friend in line for Mattou’s spicy ramen, and we agreed to trade 2 bowls to get some variety.
 
 
The verdict? 
  • Come for the experience of attending a ramen festival, but don’t expect top notch ramen.  
  • Mattou’s shoyu broth was mediocre (initially bland but tasted better after 20 minutes), chashu was thinly sliced and cooked brilliantly.
  • Mattou’s spicy broth was flavorful and worth trying– noodles were thick and chewy.
  •  If you are serious about trying ramen within a reasonable wait time, plan to come early!  
  • Divide and conquer with friends– split off into different lines and swap bowls to maximize broth tasting.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: