Monday, April 6, 2015

ラーメン女子博 (Ramen Girls Festival in Yokohama)

ラーメン女子博

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Ramen and the ladies have a rough history together. In the past, ramen was considered strictly dude-food, and to see a girl in a ramen shop was quite rare. While Tokyo's 3rd wave cafes and Italian bistros became welcoming spots for any gender, ramen shops got dirtier, stinkier, and very male-centric.

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But girls want to eat ramen, just as much as the guys. Maybe, in general, they want more healthy styles, but they want to slurp nonetheless.

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Enter Morimoto-san. A ramen otakuess with a plan. She created the ramen joshikai - ramen girl's club - a few years back, and suddenly girls had their own community to enjoy great ramen with. The club, which is strictly female only, began holding special ramen events at Tokyo's best shops. Her blog (in Japanese) showcases some of these events.

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With the recent popularity of outdoor ramen events, Morimoto-san came up with a great plan. Hold a girl's ramen festival, invite some winning shops, and let the fellas come along too.

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Eight shops, all doing a special version of ramen for this event. I made an event for Ramen Adventure fans (check out the facebook page for invites to events and what not), and a dozen or so of you wonderful people showed up.

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The system was different than other outdoor ramen events. This time, you had to buy 1500 yen worth of tickets. A normal bowl was three tickets, or 900 yen, and a small bowl was two tickets, the equivalent of 600 yen.

The lines were crazy, up to two hours for some of the shops, when I went toward the end of the second day. I heard the lines were up to four hours earlier in the day. Crazy.

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Soranoiro made a new version of his popular vegisoba. Very refreshing.

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Matador was here with a slightly different shio ramen than what he serves at his shop.

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This one was my favorite of the day. The chef has skills. One thing I've noticed in the past few years is that ramen at these events has gotten much, much better. Serving ramen outdoors in a plastic bowl is certainly a hurdle to get over. So a lot of shops have been tweaking their recipe to match the environment. Smart.

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Menya Shono did a shrimp-heavy one with premium soy milk. Great with those homemade noodles.

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ゲリラ - gerira - as in guerrilla warfare, is a strange Japanese-English word that means anything sudden. As the event was dying down, Nakamurabashi based shop Niboshi (似星) threw together an instant new offering, probably to use up their left over shrimp paste.

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 I dug it, and hope to visit the normal shop soon.

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RockanDo put heavy amounts of fragrant yuzu peel, along with cilantro, on their shio bowl. Another spot I want to try in Tokyo.

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And then there was the one I missed.

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The collabo was sold out when I arrived. Oppai x Strike x Hototogisu. These are all quality shops, though most viewers of the site will probably have come here with the keyword search "oppai ramen", or "big breast ramen", or something unsuitable for me to write on a family-friendly ramen blog.

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Quality. Ramen that is.

The event is long over. Remember, I post invites to events, news about media appearances, and other time-sensitive info over at the FaceBook page. Check it out!

4 comments:

meniola said...

Was pretty disappointed with the event.

Organisation was pretty horrible (especially compared to similar festivals in Europe). The layout of the fest was really inpractical and made the lines even longer. Rest of the vendors were quite uninteresting and the whole didn't link up.

How restaurant can show up with only 3 people serving when already know from presale how many people to expect is surprising. Of course the quality suffered!
None of the bowl would compare well to at location serviced bowls. And some of the execution & ideas weren't very good.

There seem to be much better vegetarian Ramen ideas in the US (understandably).
I had the Shono Ramen once again in Ichigaya and it was much much better (developed further, but it was the best at the festival) but precision was there.

So, all in all very disappointed and hope this isn't an indicator for other Ramen festivals.

Brian said...

Thank you for your comment.

In general, ramen events tend to be similar to this one. Long lines and bowls that would definitely be better at a real shop.

These events, though, have become quite popular, and I think the enjoyment comes more from going with friends, hanging out, and doing the social thing.

meniolaa said...

Ah thanks. Wrong expectations it seems.

⚫ Collaborations sound better then!
Remember that you mentioned them a few times before. Any suggestions about how to keep updated on them?

Thanks!

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