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May 21, 2007 04:34 PM

Pho vs. Ramen [moved from L.A. board]

Just had the special ramen with BF at the Torrance Mitsuwa and i just don't get it. I love ramen, but to pay $7.00 for a bowl of ramen noodles, half a soft boiled egg, a slice of charsu pork and a piece of nori? Are you for real?
For that much, I can get a big bowl of Pho with tons of beef and tendons, an assortment of herbs and sprouts, spring rolls for appetizer and a Vietnamese coffee at Pho So 1.
Maybe I'm comparing apples and oranges, but if you had to choose, which one would you choose?

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  1. If I HAD to choose between the two, I'd choose ramen. I enjoy pho, but I enjoy ramen far more on the whole. I understand the price difference (a bowl at Daikokuya is a couple bucks more than a large at Pho 87, my two regular spots as someone who avoids driving in LA), but the combination of the thicker soup, abundance of bamboo and fatty charsiu is just too good.

    Then again, so much of choosing between the two is about feel and cravings. As a soup lover, it's hard to imagine only getting to have one.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I agree, went to Mitsuwa and they were selling ground beef and ground pork combo for $3.99/lb nicely pre-packaged. At ABC supermarket in Westminster, each will set you back $1.99/lb at the most. Japanese culture is also very aesthetic, using little doilies for tempura and the use of nice serving dishes. Most SE asian will serve in acrylic dishes/bowls with either plastic or wooden chopsticks, won't find that at a ramen place. Also with the Japanese into the 3rd or 4th generation, it's harder to woo folks to do the restaurant biz as bulavinaka said. Makes me hopeful that the SE asian cuisine will flourish after this current generation. Still wierd to have an elder asian speak to me in perfect english, as you will find with many Japanese.

        Each has it's own place. Pho is my comfort food being vietnamese and adding your own touches makes it your own. I love ramen though, it's salty filled with different textures that tantalize. Any meal under $8 in OC is a good deal for me!

      2. Oops - look like my post vanished... oh well - I still think both are good - just a preference thing for me... but it's hard to beat your comparison on a bowl of ramen versus a mini-cauldron of pho...

        1. sometimes i want pho noodles, but often I want ramen, especially for the taste and texture of the noodles broth is good on both

          1. i don't think you can really compare. basically pho is a dish, whereas ramen is more like, a category of food like... a "sandwich" or "pasta."

            while there are a few regional variations in pho (north versus south, pho from hanoi as opposed to saigon, etc.), it's all primarily the same thing - a beef-based broth prepared using fairly defined spices, rice noodles, beef toppings, etc. (unless you're talking chicken pho lol). it's all a matter of finding the one place that does pho best/most to your liking.

            with ramen, you have a multitude of soup and noodle types and toppings and dozens of variations that have evolved over the years into unique and accepted styles - asahikawa ramen, tokyo wafu ramen, chukasoba, etc. each unique and completely unlike the other.

            along those lines, it might be more approriate to compare say, pho from a particular restaurant with a specific kind of ramen from a specific ramen shop. Like Golden Deli pho versus shoyu ramen from Ramen-ya. Althought to me it's still apples and oranges =).

            as for bang to buck ratio, keep in mind that when it comes to japanese food, we're talking about a culture where you can pay $1,000 or more for a single piece of sushi!

            that said, i eat both pho and ramen. personally, pho is great for "light days" when i still want something brothy. ramen, then, the rest of the week ^^.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rameniac

              I agree that pho is great for "light days"; ramen, to me, is a bit more heartier.