Omnivore - Ramen Fest competition returns next week

A handful of Atlanta restaurants will gather at Makan to compete for the title of Best Ramen


An ideal bowl of ramen is not too salty, not too fatty. Made with chewy noodles and accoutrements like scallions, soft-boiled egg, mushrooms, sweet corn, sliced pork belly, or a fish cake (that white circle thingie with a swirly pink design), the traditional Japanese soup is meant to be slurped quickly, and, whenever possible, among friends. But really, it's all about the broth. An expertly crafted, umami-rich base can transform a bowl of otherwise humble ingredients into bliss. On the flip side, a bland broth can condemn it to catastrophe.

With only a scant number of intown options - Vas Sanchez's Everybody Loves Ramen pop-up Sunday nights at Empire State South notwithstanding - Atlanta's ramen game has seen better days. For many of the city's noodle-lovers, next week's Ramen Fest couldn't come at a better time.

On Mon., March 23, a handful of Atlanta restaurants will gather at Makan in Decatur to compete for the title of Best Ramen. (St. Cecilia chef Craig Richards was crowned champion in 2014.) This year, chefs from each restaurant will create their own take on ramen and serve tastings to guests in attendance. So far, the lineup includes Wrecking Bar Brew Pub, Victory/Paper Plane/Little Trouble, Kimball House, Nick Melvin's upcoming Venkman's, Pine Street Market, No. 246, Illegal Food, Twain's, and Makan.

Ramen Fest tickets cost $35 and cover tastings from each competitor and a donation to the Decatur Education Fund. Drink tickets for Wild Heaven craft brews can be purchased for $12 in advance, $20 at the door. Last year's event, which raised $6000 for the Giving Kitchen, sold out quickly. This year is expected to do the same. Tickets can be purchased here.

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