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Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

Himeji's 'B-grade gourmet' contest a huge draw


KOBE — A food competition held over the weekend in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, drew a record 510,000 people eager to try cheap and tasty dishes vying for the honor of being judged the country's top "B-grade gourmet" fare.

News photo
First slurp: Hiruzen "yakisoba" fried noodles won the "B-grade gourmet" top prize Sunday. KYODO

Visitors to the "B-1 Grand Prix" voted and awarded the gold prize Sunday to a dish from Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture, that featured Hiruzen "yakisoba" fried noodles with cabbage and chicken, seasoned with miso.

A total of 63 groups from 29 prefectures took part in the sixth annual competition to promote their local specialties.

"B-grade gourmet" stands for ordinary yet tasty food, including ramen noodles and curry rice.

Some visitors arrived at the venue at 5 a.m. Friday to secure entry vouchers for the opening day Saturday, while many formed a long line before dishes began to be served at 9:30 a.m.

Visitors continued to fill the venue, with some booths selling out before the closing time at 3:30 p.m.

A group featuring Namie yakisoba from Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, most of whose residents have evacuated the town near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, took fourth place.

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