Noodle Lovers Rejoice As Austin Hosts The First-Ever Ramen Expo USA

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By Becky FogelOctober 10, 2017 2:38 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

This week, the first-ever Ramen Expo USA is being held in Central Texas.

“I just wanted the American people to see ramen as Japanese soul food. It’s common in Japan. It’s common to have ramen after drinking out late at night so I just wanted to bring that in Texas as well,” says Kazu Tanaka, the president of Next Global Inc., which organized the two-day event.

Tanaka says ramen is already very popular in cities like New York and Los Angeles, but he chose to hold the expo in Austin because he’s heard from distributors that more and more restaurants are serving ramen in Texas and the midwest.

When you step inside the Travis County Exposition Center during Ramen Expo, the hall is lined with booths displaying neat piles of ramen noodles, bottles of green tea and equipment for cooking up vats of the flavorful soup.

“The noodle we’re actually making right now is called our Temomi noodle which traditionally in Japan they’ll sometimes take a thicker ramen noodle and hand massage it to give it a different texture throughout.” says Mike Parrilli, with Hawaii-based Sun Noodle, a ramen manufacturer.

While this event is geared toward connecting restaurants with manufacturers like Sun Noodle,  it also brought out ramen enthusiasts including Nathan Surita.

“I’m kind of a ramen novice. I know a few places around Austin that are really good but when I got the opportunity to come here I had to jump on it and it is incredible,” Surita says.

He came to savor samples with Risa Hinokuma, who grew up in Japan.

“I’m pretty happy that we actually have a ramen expo in Austin – not in LA or San Francisco – but in Austin, which is super special,” Hinokuma says.

Tabetha Fore thinks this event is special too. The food and fashion blogger drove up from San Antonio, where she says the ramen scene is kind of lacking.

“I’m hoping it will start picking up more in the states and I think that’s the goal of this whole convention right is to teach people – so I’m really excited – I’m glad people are loving ramen so much,” Fore says.

More than 2,000 people and businesses registered to attend the event. The second and last day of the Ramen Expo is Tuesday.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, near Houston, has lifted its expulsion of high school senior India Landry, who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students have a First Amendment right not to stand for the pledge.

Charles “Rocky” Rhodes of South Texas College of Law  in Houston talked about ‘the right to dissent’ on Houston Matters.

“You can dissent even on something as important as a concern for our flag and our national unity even in a time of war,” Rhodes said.

Landry is now suing Cypress-Fairbanks ISD for damages.

The Astros celebrated in the locker room after beating the Boston Red Sox in game four of their American League Playoff series. Next up, they’ll face-off against either the New York Yankees or the Cleveland Indians.

You can hear more about Houston Astros fans’ reaction to the win from Houston Public Media.

Becky Fogel/Texas Standard