What’s worth trekking to a grocery store an hour away from home, only to wait in a line for the better part of another hour? Not much. But ramen and other tasty offerings from Japan-based shops touring Mitsuwa Marketplace locations around the US for two weeks is one of them. Though there is much to see and eat, ramen seems to be the undisputed favorite among attendees at all of the various Mitsuwa food festivals, as evidenced by the line out the door.

Finally, inside!

Closer.

Noodles ordered. Like last year’s Hokkaido Food Fair at the Edgewater, NJ location, the featured shop serves up miso ramen, a specialty of Japan’s northernmost island.

Perusing goodies while we wait.

Squid filled with rice.

Fish and crabs.

We get down to some slurping. Compared with last year’s miso ramen from Shingen, Kagetora has a similarly rich but not overwhelmingly heavy broth. Miso ramen can be hideously over-saturated with grease. Unlike Shingen, however, I felt there was less attention to the quality of the toppings. The chashu was a bit tough and not as flavorful as Shingen’s rolled and marinated pork belly. Everything seems “thrown on top” as opposed to carefully arranged, though given the immense crowd of waiting customers I can’t argue with sacrifice of aesthetics in the name of efficiency. Overall, still a very high quality bowl and a fun, infrequent experience around these parts.

Mei was not as excited about the ramen.

Previous Mitsuwa festivals:

Umaimono Food Fair Spring 2011

Umaimono Food Fair Fall 2010

Hokkaido Food Fair Fall 2010