Oodles of Noodles at Noodle Bowl Fest 2013

Ramen, pho, soups…..there are oodles of noodle dishes to make you feel cozy and happy on these cold nights. This past weekend, to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the First Annual Noodle Bowl Festival took place at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. From traditional noodle houses to others who put their spin on noodles, seven restaurants from around Los Angeles served warm bowls of noodles to a full crowd. While slurping and filling our bellies, proceeds were raised for My Friend’s Place, a Hollywood-based charity dedicated to assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives.

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Fortunately, I was very hungry when I walked in. I started with the first bowl (from Seoul Sausage). It was so spicy and the pork belly so tender; I started to think about having seconds. But, as we walked into the event we were handed a card that got a stamp at each station to insure that attendees would only taste one serving per restaurant. In the end, while everything was so tasty, second helpings were only a dream. It was a challenge to eat all 7 dishes……but I did!

Din Tai Fung [1088 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia; (626) 446-8588]
With locations in San Gabriel Valley and Seattle, Din Tai Fung is known for its small, delicate steamed dumplings. Din Tai Fung served Taiwanese Niu Rou Mian (beef noodle soup) that was full of flavor and tender beef.

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Tsujita LA [2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025; (310) 231-7373]
Considered one of the best ramen shops in LA, Tsujito LA is located on Sawtelle Blvd, otherwise known as “Little Osaka”. Chef Kenta Ikehata served his famous Tsukemen noodles, a dipping-style ramen that simmered for 60 hours and was served with a rich Tonkotsu soup.


Seoul Sausage Co. [11313 Mississippi Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025; (310) 477-7739]
Also located on Sawtelle Blvd, the winners of the third season of The Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race”, served up a spicy dish of budae jigae (Korean army noodles) with tender braised pork belly, rice cake and ramen noodles.


Rodded [5623 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 962-8382]
A 40-year old family-run restaurant in Thai Town, Rodded prepared their famous signature Duck Noodle Soup, made with stewed duck and bean sprouts in a cinnamon-tinged soy broth that was light but full of flavor.


Maximiliano [5930 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042; (323) 739-6125]  
An Italian restaurant in Highland Park, Maximiliano’s chef and owner Andrew Guerrero made Filipino Chicken Noodle Soup inspired by his mom. Stanghon Manok is a chicken broth with bean thread vermicelli, scallions and crispy chicken chicharones. The crunchy chicarones stole the show.


M.B. Post [1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; (310) 545-5405]
2012 James Beard Award Semifinalist and Best New Restaurant and Best Chef (Pacific), M.B. Post’s Chef David LeFevre made the popular Vietnamese Pho with Oxtail and Beef Brisket with thin noodles that warmed us up, with a little kick.

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Whist [1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401; (310) 260 7500]
Located inside the Viceroy Santa Monica, the host hotel for the event, Chef Tony DiSalvo prepared Kimchi Sujebi, a traditional Korean noodle soup made with thick handmade dough and kimchi.

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Mission accomplished! Slurped all 7 noodle dishes.


If you missed the Noodle Bowl Fest, you can still taste these wonderfully comforting dishes at the restaurants. Enjoy!