Mitsuwa Marketplace is a small chain of Japanese grocery stores in the US. Most of its locations are in California, but there are also satellites in Chicago and one (near us) in Edgewater, NJ. With my recent ramen making escapades, we have been making the trek over on an increasingly frequent basis. What I like most about Mitsuwa are the periodic food themed festivals the store hosts. Some are focused on specific activities, such as tuna cutting competitions and rice pounding, others feature vendors and chefs on tour from specific regions of Japan (such as Hokkaido), while the recurring umaimono (yummy things) events are catchalls for whoever and whatever happens to be available.

Last week’s Umaimono Food Fair featured ramen from Chef Kajiwara Ryuta of Tatsunoya, based out of Kurume in Japan’s Kyushu Region. Kyushu is the home of tonkotsu (cloudy pork bone based ramen). Kajiwara-san allegedly uses only pork bones and water for the soup base, without any additional flavorings like ginger or garlic.

Noodles were super chewy and tasty, as is par for the course with tonkotsu.

Though Kajiwara-san stepped out of the steamy kitchen for a momentary break, he was too quick for me to catch a photo. I settled for this banner instead.

Takoyaki, grilled balls of batter filled with octopus and green onions. This is a specialty of Osaka and a favorite street food throughout Japan.

Golden brown.

Our finished takoyaki, topped with mayo, takoyaki sauce, and katsuobushi (dried fish flakes).