I may have missed the recent LA Ramen Yokocho Fest due to an unavoidable trip to Ohio, but I lucked out into finding out about Mitsuwa Market's Hokkaido Festival in Torrance. It was this past weekend and the next best thing to actually being in Hokkaido -- which I was, just a few months ago.
I've been trying to make it to one of Mitsuwa's regional fairs for a while now but something always gets in the way. So as penance I drove down there twice this weekend for Ezo Fukurou's authentic Sapporo-style miso ramen.
Take it from a guy who is 18% noodle (you can read that any way you want) -- it was worth the 45 minute drive, worth standing in line for 20 minutes, and worth an hour's wait after ordering.
Because it looks like this:
This is without a doubt the best miso ramen -- by far -- I've ever had in America. For some reason miso stateside is the Lance Bass of ramen. An afterthought. It is often salty but never sweet, missing the point more widely than the religious right. Ezo Fukurou's pork-based broth and miso paste melds to create that familiar, uniquely Japanese and oh-so-delicious caramel flavor that I remember from the likes of Kururi, Eki and Sumire. How I missed you so.
It's so legit they put that thick layer of oil on top to lock in the heat, just as they do up in the cold north.
The next day I went back and got the kuro miso (black miso) option, which is pretty much the same thing as the regular, only with a layer of burnt garlic oil and a soft boiled, marinated egg.
Although I think they were getting to the bottom of the burnt garlic oil pot... mine wasn't so much a layer as a dusting. But it was just as good, to the point where my intestines were still giving it ovations several days later.
But it's all gone now. These bowls went through San Jose, Chicago and New Jersey on this trip. Hopefully Ezo will be back so you can see what an angel tastes like if angels were made out of pigs. Which in the near future they might be.