It was a sun-soaked world with oodles of noodles in Huntington Beach on Sunday for Foodbeast’s Nood Beach festival.
The event had more than 20 vendors alongside a series of live music performances, including a set by Snoop Dogg.
For a first-time festival, the scene was worth the trip, save for difficult parking conditions along the beach and too few tables and shaded areas. Still, there were some excellent finds at Nood.
Here are my top five:
1: Ramen sheet pan pizza at Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store (Newport Beach)
This thing took me completely by surprise, and I’m still shocked at how much I liked it. When I ordered this ramen sheet pan pizza, I expected maybe a grounded-up noodle crust. What I received looked like uncooked Top Ramen pizza. At first bite, I realized it was basically that, but it worked beyond belief: crunchy ramen, topped by marinara sauce, melted cheese and Sgt. Pepperoni’s distinctive pepperonis (which look like little scoops). This goes to show you that the simple and classic (pizza, in this case) still works every time.
2: Hot nood pig on a stick at Ten Asian Bistro (Newport Beach)
This slow-roasted, thick-cut pork belly was stellar. It came in Instagram-worthy fashion, wrapped in crispy noodles, dipped in Nashville hot butter and topped with parmesan and an aioli. I heard this was a festival exclusive, but they should seriously add it to their restaurant menu.
3: Black truffle parmesan at the Golden Marrow (Arcadia)
This bone marrow roasted with a black truffle glaze and topped with arugula was served over egg noodle spaetzle with truffled butter. For the Instagram (but of course!), it had 24-karat gold flakes sprinkled on there. The key was to scrape out the marrow and spread it within the spaetzle. Also, props to this stand for its guerrilla marketing: a staffer proclaimed, on a megaphone, that there was gold in the food.
4: Smurfberry s’mores at Hug Life (Garden Grove, Orange, Long Beach)
This place sells “anti-dairy ice-cream n stuff.” Stuff indeed. This was a fun mix of blueberry non-dairy ice cream in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone with whipped cream, toasted marshmallows, chocolate flakes and graham cracker crumbles. The ice cream came out of a grinder to initially look like noodles, though it quickly melted into a normal mush to enjoy.
5: Pork belly ramen lumpia at Lia’s Lumpia (San Diego)
I grew up in San Diego alongside many Filipino families who blessed everyone with their special lumpia at parties, so I was bound to enjoy this. Lia’s, a pop-up shop from Hunters Home Kitchen, served a great pork belly lumpia with ginger, garlic, cilantro, green onion, baby bok choy, calamansi mayo and sriracha sambal mayo.