Today was day 2 of the JapanFes Ramen Contest. Eleven vendors were present today and we were try five different vendors from yesterday! A lot of ramen has been eaten this weekend and we have a lot to say about it...as always.
To get an overview of the festival and rankings of the first day, please check out our article about day 1. Here we are going to rate the bowls we ate on Day 2 from best to worst and then do our overall rating for the entire festival.
BEST RAMEN OF THE DAY- Batten Ramen (New Jersey)
This was a Spicy Miso Tonkotsu Ramen with a big kick. We really thought that this ramen was delicious and it happened to be the first ramen that we ate today so the feeling stuck with us. The broth was definitely spicy, but well spiced and with a great flavor. I loved the combination of Tonkotsu and Miso, which made for a really complex broth. They also had the best pork of the whole festival. It was well seasoned and not too fatty. This bowl also had scallions, menma, bean sprouts, ground pork, and sesame oil. I would definitely go to this place if I end up in New Jersey.
2nd Best Ramen of the day - Kogane Ramen (New York)
This Spicy Miso Ramen had a very good flavor but wasn't as complex. The ramen was not too spicy which was great and also not too salty or thick like some miso broths. The noodles were thin and had a great taste and the toppings were minimal - scallions and ground pork, but the broth really held its own to bring it to number 2 of the day. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this one so we took one from their website. The one at the contest does not have an egg. OOPS!
3rd Best Ramen Of The Day - Kishuya Ramen Noodle Bar (Hartsdale, New York)
This Shoyu Tonkotsu was a close 2nd place for me, but unfortunately was a little too fishy. The broth had the normal makeup of a Tonkotsu but had too much of a fish flavor. The rest of the bowl was great. The noodles were wavy and with the right amount of chewiness. This ramen was the only one that had egg in it that we tried, which I thought was a good addition, but hard to compare as the other bowls did not have this. There was also menma, fish cake, scallions, and nori which made it feel like a typical bowl of ramen.
4th Best Ramen Of The Day - Uminoie (New York)
This ramen was a Agodashi Shoyu Ramen which is a Flying Fish Shoyu broth. This ramen was very light and did not have a lot of toppings. Even though this was a fish broth, it was not fishy at all which I liked, but it lacked flavor complexity. The whole soup was a little too simple. Because of this though, I think it could have used some more toppings to round it out as it was very bare. The noodles for this were thin and very good and definitely the highlight. The only toppings were menma, scallions, and pork, which is like the other bowls, but because the broth was so basic it felt even more lacking.
Worst Ramen Of The Day - Yume Wo Katare (Boston)
I personally had a big problem with this ramen because it wasn't ramen. They called this Gattsuri Maze Soba which they described as more of a "salad". I am honestly not sure why they called it a salad and I am not sure as to what the contents of this salad were, but it wasn't ramen. There was very little broth (less than 1/4 of the bowl) and a majority of the bowl was noodles. I would describe this as more of a lo mein. The little bit of broth with all of the other added ingredients mixed together formed a kind of "dressing". As a lo mein it was very tasty, but I can't categorize this as a ramen. One thing to note is that Ryan has been to this place in Boston and has assured me that their regular ramen is very good (review to come).
Before we go through the final rankings, there were three bowls that we did not try. Snappy Ramen from Boston served a Veggie Tomato Ramen that had soy milk in it. Unfortunately, Ryan is allergic to soy milk so we had to skip this bowl. Shuya Cafe de Ramen from New York ran out of their Bluefin Tuna Paitan that was a contestant in the contest. This ramen place is in our neighborhood so we figured we would end up here at some point. Lastly, Okidoki Ramen (who served an Astorian Shoyu) is a place down the block from us so we decided to prioritize ones that were not so close. Ryan and I have eaten at Okidoki Rmen and didn't love it so we knew it would be lower in the pack.
Here are our final rankings from both days of the JapanFes Ramen Contest:
Batten Ramen (New Jersey)
Menya Hinata (New York)
Kogane (New York)
Kishuya Ramen Noodle Bar (New York)
Uminoie (New York)
Yume Wo Katare (Boston)
Mentoku (New York)
Mew Men (New York)
The next ramen contest by JapanFes is September 16th and 17th 2017. See you there!
is a New Yorker who, when she isn't day dreaming about ramen, works as a producer for film and TV. She is absolutely terrible at using chopsticks properly, but gets the job done. Her go to ramen order: Tonkotsu with thick noodles, extra corn and scallions.