Now that Day 1 of the San Francisco’s first ever Ramen Yokocho is over, here are some tips that will help the people that are planning to attend Day 2.
– Come early! The festival starts at 11am, but trust us when we tell you to come as early as possibly. Better to arrive early and wait than risk arriving late to find out they ran out of ramen!
– Avoid driving directly to Japantown. Traffic and parking will be a headache. If possible, take public transportation or park a few blocks away so you can work up a bigger appetite.
– Expect long lines. (we got there at 10:30am and the wait for each stall were 3 hours each!)
– Organize a team. This is key! There are 8 stalls; each with different flavors. Having a person standing in different lines can save you time. Divide and conquer!
– Sweet talk. If you’re riding solo, see if you can convince a stranger with a different flavor go halfsies. It’s a win-win solution. You get to make a new friend or maybe even charm your way into getting date out of it. The worst that can happen is they say no or give you a weird look.
– Sharing portions can save you money. For $8 a bowl x 8 flavors, you’re looking at $64 minimum. If each person in your group buys a different flavor, you guys can split it up and get a taste of everything. Be warned though, the bowls are dinky!
– Bring sunscreen. Even though it’s often foggy in San Francisco, you don’t underestimate the power of the sun.
– Stay hydrated. Make sure to have a bottle of water with you so you don’t pass out from the heat and hunger. But make sure you don’t drink too much so you have room for all that ramen.
– Be patient. Having friends accompanying you and having a fully charge phone can save your sanity.
– Explore. If you don’t want to wait in the long lines, there are plenty other things to eat including a section for street food trucks, takoyaki (Japanese octopus ball), Japanese rice burger, and even free sake tasting. But let’s get real here. All we really want is to get our hands on the ever infamous and elusive Ramen Burger. We just want one bite so we can stay we’ve done it.
– SLURP AWAY!!! Man….once you finally get that little bowl of ramen, you better enjoy it by slurping as loud as you can. It’s the proper Japanese etiquette to show your appreciation for the chef and delicious food.
If all else fails, there are plenty of ramen shops around the Bay Area. Just a note though; given that plenty of people will leave discouraged because of the line and not having a taste of ramen, they will try to salvage the day by finding another ramen joint to satisfy those cravings. Expect a long wait at ALL ramen shops.
If you can’t make it out this weekend, there will be another Ramen Yokocho in San Jose in October!