Ramen-lovers, assemble! Tokyo Ramen Show 2019 is on at Komazawa Olympic Park, so if ramen is your cup of soup (apologies for butchering that phrase), then you're in luck.
Shops from all over Japan will gather here to win your heart. After finishing your bowl, get your critiquing cap on and vote on which one was your favourite. It can be quite filling, so let's just hope you have the stomach for it, quite literally.
First things first : getting my Ramen ticket
You will not be able to purchase ramen directly at the stalls, so head over to the ticketing booth where you can purchase ramen tickets. Use the ticketing machine on the left side, or approach the staff on the right if you're feeling chatty. Just keep in mind that the two counters on the right-side are only for e-payments.
Getting one bowl of Ramen will cost you 880 yen. This doesn't include toppings by the way. That will cost extra a little extra; prices vary at each stall. The ticket will come with a 投票券 (touhyouken) which will be used for voting for your favourite ramen. We will come back to that later.
Now that you have your ticket, it's time to make a choice.
Ramen vendors ASSEMBLE
Taste testing 3 Ramen shops
Kobushi Ramen (拳ラーメン)
First shop on the agenda is Kobushi Ramen (拳ラーメン). A little side-note is that I'm just choosing stalls that are either reeling in quite a few customers, or have done a nice job with their banner. Isn't that how most of us judge things?
京鴨ノドグロ煮干しそば (Kyoto duck Nodoguro boiled soba)
This ramen was simplistic in nature and delicious, making for a great opening dish. The smooth noodle texture combined with the duck & soft-boiled egg was a delight. Not feeling weighed down after eating this ramen, I was ready for round two.
I now had my eyes set on 和歌山ラーメン(Wakayama Ramen); feeling ready for a more heavy-sided dish. The words "Pork bone soy sauce ramen" was music to my ears.
After you give your ramen ticket at the counter, you do have the option for toppings. As you can see from the picture above, you can pay extra for individual toppings, or just go for the 全部乗せ which adds everything. This did not however interest me because I wanted to try their ramen as it was intented.
豚骨醤油ラーメン（Pork bone soy sauce ramen）
Wakayama Ramen had great presentation, lots of noodles rested in deliciously rich soup, roasted pork fillet slices, topped off with a slice of Kamaboko/Naruto. I couldn't have asked for a better second dish. Finished it in a heartbeat.
For the final ramen vendor, I thought it would be interesting to switch things up. Not having had any seafood variety of ramen, this choice sounded intruiging.
背脂海老醤油そば (Soba shrimp soy sauce Soba)
I could go on & on about what kind of impression this one had, but I'd prefer not to waste your time. It's time to vote!
投票所 （Voting booth）
I hope you have held on to the remaining side of your ramen tickets (the side that says 投票券 on it) because it's time to vote on which ramen you liked the most!
3 times the voting power
You might've been expecting me to vote for the second ramen I had (Pork bone soy sauce ramen), but you would be wrong. Why oh why did I vote for the first one? It can be summed up in one word — simplicity & elegance. Sorry, that's two words.
I think the second ramen will win, but I have to give credit where credit is due.
Access / Venue times
Tokyo Ramen Show 2019
Tokyo Ramen Show 2019:
24th of Oct. - 4th of Nov.
10:00am - 9:00pm （On Oct. 29 and Nov. 4: 10:00am - 6:00pm）
No Entrance free
One bowl of ramen is 880 yen (tax incl.)
Komazawa Olympic Park (Around a 12 minute walk from Komazawa-Daigaku Station)
You can visit these ramen stores when traveling around Japan, but I for one find this venue to be a very opportunistic moment. Don't miss out.
Click here if you want a basic overview of what to expect at the Tokyo Ramen Show.