Yep, it's time again for Mitsuwa's Hokkaido Fair. The 2009 event starts today, and this time around, your favorite stateside Japanese supermarket chain will be all about the shio. There's Ishikari's Ramen Shingen in Torrance and also Ezo-Fukuro in Costa Mesa doing a couple of versions of the stuff; next week the festival moves on across the U.S., as usual. Go here for all the details and the tour dates. These ramen shops should all just hurry up and open permanent North American branches already.
This has nothing to do with ramen, but a dearly loved friend of mine is involved in organizing the first ever Korean BBQ Cook-Off in Los Angeles this Saturday, August 8th. Presented by the Korean American Coalition, the event will feature notable restaurants from around town battling to determine the best bulgogi and kalbi this side of Seoul. A panel of gastronomic luminaries will be judging the contest, and smokey marinated fun in the summer sun will most surely be had by all. I'll be there wandering around in a drunken stupor by the way; just look for the Asian guy.
For those of you lucky enough to be living near a Mitsuwa Marketplace in the States, it's time once again for their Kyushu & Okinawa Fair. Ramen-wise, tonkotsu ramen specialist Tatsunoya (龍の家) from Kurume will be setting up shop 7/16 - 7/19 in Torrance and 7/23 - 7/26 in New Jersey. There's also Yamachan Nagasaki Sara Udon and Okinawa Soba doing the rounds at several locations. I'm lazy in this heat; check their schedule for details.
I’ve resisted writing about The Ramen Girl, largely because Ed already beat me to the punch (bowl). What’s not to love about this Brittany Murphy vehicle, a Tampopo meets Lost in Translation-inspired rom-com featuring Japanese character actor Toshiyuki Nishida as a cranky old ramen chef and (woo hoo) an all-too-rare Asian male love interest? The truth is, a little over a year ago, the fine folks at Media 8 Entertainment invited me to a screening of the film, and I had hoped to help the filmmakers generate some hype for it by waiting until they had secured distribution and a release date before drumming up some buzz. Yes, rameniac can be bought, for the price of a free movie and a couple of hours of air conditioning!
Apologies folks! I've been taking a much needed break from noodling and internet foodie-ism in general, thanks largely to a daily intake of salads, Good Seasons Italian Dressing, and a overall desire to cut back on carbs and meat in general. I'm not on a diet per se, but perhaps I've succumbed to the Southern California health-conscious, yoga-loving lifestyle. Just kidding! It's just that salad dressing, which is like the MSG-equivalent of liquid crack. Rest assured I'll be ramenizing again shortly. In the meantime, I couldn't resist this one - Nissin's ridiculous online game in which users collectively stack Cup Noodle cups from Tokyo Bay... straight into space. As with most things Japanese, it's a gigantic communal effort, and you can even see other users plopping down cups in realtime as you play. Join in, and help Cup Noodle reach the stratosphere!