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Ramen Summit at J Pop Festival 2017

Kaz Tsutsumi showing off ramen noodles

Part of the annual San Francisco celebration of all things Japanese, the J-Pop Summit is the Ramen Summit. There are five different ramen shops offering a different style of ramen. This year I tried each of the bowls. And so can you! Tickets are still available for Sunday September 10, 2017 for the J-Pop Summit and the Ramen Summit is located outside the entrance. Each bowl is $8, and definitely large enough to share. Here’s my take on each bowl featured this year.

This Hakata style ramen is one of my current favorites. I really love the creamy texture of their tonkotsu and their ultra thin noodles which still manage to remain al dente. It’s made under the guidance of Kaz Tsutsumi, who has been a ramen chef for 11 years.

Marufuku has a shop in Japantown in the old Sapporo-Ya space. I wrote about it for Tasting Table, it was one of my picks for cheap eats. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan

Yoroshiku is a ramen shop in Seattle, Washington and serves 150-200 customers a day. The ramen they served is Sapporo style, from the North of Japan.

It’s made with a blend of red and white miso. It’s sweet and spicy, not too salty and comes with fresh corn, scallions and bamboo shoots. I liked it very much. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan

The ramen at Orenchi Beyond is tonkotsu style but “beyond.” What does that mean exactly? A
boosted flavor thanks to garlic, fish powder and shoyu.

Their classic style is shio and is served in Santa Clara. But in San Francisco, it’s an over the top style ramen that’s the signature bowl. The noodles are the thickest I’ve ever seen, almost like linguine. I liked the topping of mizuna and crunchy garlic chips. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan

This is perhaps the most unusual ramen, it’s served with a dashi broth. It’s intensely
flavored but still light.

The noodles are a bit thin but thicker than those at Maufuku. It’s less of a gut buster bowl of ramen. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan

A year and a half ago this ramen company with 200 shops in Japan came to San Francisco. Their specialty is chicken ramen. In Japan they have their own farm, but here they source the chicken locally.

The ramen has a tender chicken meatball, chunks of bamboo and a tangy yuzu garnish that complements the ramen, but I found the ramen a bit too salty for my liking. Their noodles are custom made by Sun Noodles