For fans of Japanese cuisine, the hunt for good ramen in Miami has been an ongoing struggle over the years. Little by little, the city has opened a few notable restaurants and even imported some pop-up shops whose bowls are worth slurping.
Enter PopRamen, dedicated to the art of crafting Japan’s staple food: wheat noodles and a variety of toppings in a salty, savory broth.
The noodle fest will take place in the Design District's Palm Court this Sunday, September 22, the last day of summer.
The brainchild of Urbanica Hotel’s ramen fanatic, Philippe “Flip” Falca, who’s teaming up with local chef Jeremiah Bullfrog, PopRamen aims to shed light on the chefs who are doing it right and encourage them to step up their game in order to be crowned the PopRamen.
Having wrapped up his fourth-annual fowl event, Duck Duck Goose, over Memorial Day weekend with a roster of celebrity chef talent, Bullfrog is no stranger to food festivals specializing in a unique offering. “As a chef, it’s important for me to educate people,” says the Miami-based TV personality, former GastroPod owner, and personal chef to Rick Ross. Bullfrog started the annual P.I.G. (Pork Is Good) festival nearly ten years ago to expand the local mentality around pork and its versatility.
“We want to tell people there is good ramen in Miami, but it can be hard to find," Bullfrog says. "Sometimes Miami doesn’t appreciate a place that specializes in just one thing. You go to a ramen spot for good ramen. It’s a dedication of the chef’s time and effort. As restaurateurs, we tend to feel that we need to appease everyone that walks in the door.”
But noodle lovers can rejoice in knowing PopRamen will deliver on its promise to offer a variety of ramen dishes.
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Confirmed participants include Andrew Zarzosa of St. Roch Market’s Yuzu Miami and Phuket “Cake” Thongsodchaveondee of Cake Thai, along with celebrity judges Katsuya Fukushima of Daikaya in Washington, D.C., and Justin Carlisle of Ardent and Red Light Ramen in Milwaukee.
The beverage offerings by David Cedeno of Urbanica Hotel’s watering hole, Minibar, will balance out all the broth and noodles with some cold Japanese brews and Asian-inspired cocktails.
In the air-conditioned Palm Court, chefs can take full advantage of diverse techniques in a space where local meets luxurious. The VIP ticket includes a swanky arrival experience with a separate elevator entrance and early access. And in typical Bullfrog style, expect additional treats and Japanese culture sprinkled in for full Asian immersion. “We have a little trick up our sleeve we’re working on,” he teases.
PopRamen. 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, September 22, at Palm Court, 140 NE 39th St., Miami. Tickets cost $50 to $75 via eventbrite.com.