Amen for Ramen! Nyuzen Ramen Matsuri 2014

Yesterday I took the train to the town of Nyuzen, in the East of Toyama Prefecture for “The 14th Nyuzen Ramen Matsuri 2014”. It was the perfect day for a food festival, with the already not-so-cold winter feeling like it was coming to a definite close. The main street was lined with Ramen vendors from different areas of Japan (although many were from Toyama prefecture) averaging around 800 Yen a bowl. Ramen sounds pretty straightforward in theory, but this festival was evidence enough just how much variation is possible. My first was a miso ramen from Ishikawa, and it was super oily and a little spicy- amazing! My second was a Soy Ramen from Hokkaido which was a little lighter and more sweet.


Miso Ramen from Ishikawa Prefecture – Smokey and Oily, my favourite one!


Sea Urchin Ramen from Toyama


Spinach Ramen – perhaps the “healthiest” of all the options!


Soy Ramen from Hokkaido! Clear and a little sweet.

I managed just over one and a half bowls all together (with plenty of taste-tests from my friend’s picks), which left me in a slight food coma for the rest of the day. It was a great way to spend an afternoon, you really can’t go wrong with good food, weather, and company. They also happened to play pretty great music, including some Barry White which was an excellent soundtrack for noodle slurping. We also ran into the official Nyuzen mascot- a giant watermelon! Or, watermelon King to be precise.


Veggie heaven at Uozu city welcome barbecue

For all the greatness that Japanese restaurants provide, you’re hard pressed to find a large portion of vegetables. So, when the new arrivals in Uozu were invited to a welcome barbecue I was expecting mostly red meat. I was overjoyed when I was pointed to a grill with heaping platters of squash, mushrooms, green peppers and onions!

We cooked the food outdoors over large charcoal grills, giving the vegetables a mouthwatering smell and smokey taste.


Another grill was preparing piles of soba noodles, which were passed around as a side. After dinner we were given grapes and large slices of watermelon, truly a pleasant surprise as they sky high prices have had me avoiding many types if fruit.

The savoury lunch left us all full and content, certainly a warm welcome to the city!