Mitsuwa Torrance Umaimono Food Fair

Queuing for takoyaki at last year's Umaimono
Queuing for takoyaki at last year's Umaimono
Flickr user cgfan

Every spring, the mythical Hakata Ippudo noodle emerges from its pot in Northern Kyushu, Japan and migrates west, to the great delight of Stateside ramen devotees who don't happen to live in New York City, Ippudo's sole U.S. kitchen. Sinuous, cilia-thin and cloaked in porcine broth, this dish alone makes the Mitsuwa Costa Mesa and Torrance Umaimono (delicious things) Food Fairs worth a visit. Hakata-style ramen will be joined by evergreen rivals Gyutan and Chibakiya ramen for one long, hot weekend at these teeming supermarket/food halls, Thursday, May 27 through Sunday, May 30. (Hakata ramen at the Costa Mesa location only.)

The Food Fair draws aficionados, families and those looking for nothing more than lunch--albeit prepared by a fleet of Japanese chefs who jet across the Pacific exclusively for this event and caravan nationwide from Mitsuwa to Mitsuwa, often with secret ingredients stowed in their luggage.

Squid Ink will be slurping noodles, downing pillowy Takoya Kukuru Osaka takoyaki (octopus dumpling) fatally hot from the cured iron grill and, if intestinal fortitude serves, sealing the lot off with a mini-apple pie and reporting on the bacchanal after a proper nap. Bring cash, an empty stomach and patience. Delicious Things is very well attended and no one takes plastic. All three will be tapped by the time your day is done.

Mitsuwa Marketplace Torrance: 21515 Western Avenue, Torrance; 310-782-0335.

Mitsuwa Marketplace Costa Mesa: 665 Paularino Avenue, Costa Mesa, 92626; 714-557-6699.

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