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Is there better Ramen than Daikokuya?

Finally braved the wait and went last night to the one in Little Tokyo. SOOO GOOD! In love with it but wonder are there others I should be trying?

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  1. I thought Daikokuya was pretty decent, but kinda bland and filled with too many sprouts. It was a nice big bowl, but I prefer quality over quantity. I would take Santouka's shio ramen over Daikokuya any day.

    1 Reply
    1. re: esquimeaux

      I like both. I find Santouka's shio broth to be better, but Daikokuya's pork is worth the price of admission alone IMHO

    2. Hi PurpleTeeth,

      It depends on the type of Ramen you're looking for. (^_~) Do you prefer Tonkotsu (Pork Bone) style broths more, over Shio (Salt base), Shoyu (Soy Sauce base), and Miso? Or do you like blended style broths? Or do you like the more wild varieties of Ramen, like Kare (Curry) Ramen, Mabo Tofu Ramen, etc.?

      Answering those questions will help with recommendations for other places to try. (^_~)

      If you're looking for something similar to Daikokuya (Little Tokyo)'s broth / style, then you might consider Santouka, which has locations on the Westside, Torrance and Costa Mesa.

      If you're looking for other styles, let us know and we'll add more suggestions. :)

      8 Replies
      1. re: exilekiss

        Definatly the Pork Broth and that Pork they do!

        1. re: exilekiss


          I would love your recs for Tonkotsu style broths! Oh, and I hope you're having a great holiday!

          1. re: mollyomormon

            Hi PurpleTeeth & mollyomormon,

            Tonkotsu broths in L.A.... that's tough. I would say the best choices would be Tonkotsu blend broths like Santouka and Asa Ramen as mrhooks has nicely listed below. :) For a pure Tonkotsu broth, it'd probably be Shin Sen Gumi Ramen (Gardena), although none of these are as nice as the versions of Tonkotsu I've had in Tokyo.

            (On a side note, I need to go back to Asa a few more times to make sure about its consistency: I've had some mixed results (some good and some not so good, so it might've just been an off-night hopefully... more updates to come :).)

            Thanks for the holiday wishes: Hope you're enjoying the holidays as well! :)

            1. re: exilekiss

              Hey EK, you're becoming quite the ramen expert. ;) Nice job! If only Ippudo or Jangara or Tsukumo or Nantsutte could bring their tonkotsu to LA!

              PurpleTeeth, Chuuka Soba Gomen in Stanton has a really good Tonkotsu-shio ramen. It's Wakayama-style so slightly different from Daikokuya's but still pork bone based.

              Btw, went to Asa last night and it was great! Their kotteri shoyu is as close as you can get to Tokyo in LA.

              1. re: Keizo

                Hi Keizo,

                ieie. :) Thanks for your always helpful insight. :)

                That's great that your visit to Asa was as good as your previous visit; I'll have to go back soon (and try Gomen as well).

                1. re: Keizo

                  When I went to Ippudo, I had been to Daikokuya just a couple weeks earlier. I have to say that the broth at Daikokuya tasted better to me. As for quality of the noodles and chashu, it was a wash. And the donburi were much better, IMO. (I know, not ramen, but still important to the enjoyment of my meal!)

                  I'm not an expert, but I know what I like.

            2. re: exilekiss

              isn't the shio made with pork bone too? also lobster shells?

              1. re: jessejames

                Hi jessejames,

                Not necessarily. It can be made with Chicken / Chicken Bones, or combinations of that and Fish, etc. A good Shio broth (non-Pork) in L.A. to try would be Foo Foo Tei (Hacienda Heights). Murakami-san makes a really clean broth, slow-cooked / distilled down for hours, with No MSG, which is always a plus. :) And he has a great Pork Belly "Chashu" to go with it that is very good. :)

            3. Asa Ramen in Gardena. They can be a little inconsistent - sometimes the broth is too thin, sometimes the chashu is a little overcooked - but when they are on, IMHO they're the best in town. Get the kotteri shoyu ramen with katamen (firm) noodles (Asa has the best noodles around), extra chashu (better than Santouka's IMHO), hanjuku egg, and seabura (pork back fat, tiny little cubes of fat mixed into the broth). They also offer kimchee, mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and butter (!). And save your broth to order kaedama (extra noodles) - it's always more katamen than the first serving.

              Santouka is also very good, and closer to Daikokuya in style.

              1. For a very different style you need to try Orochon upstairs in the mall on Onizuka. South side, top level. They have shio, shoyu and miso stocks, but the feature is spiciness, from moderate to "gasp".

                Daikokuya soup is OK, but I like the funk factor in the room more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Akitist

                  These types of replies are hard for me to gauge.

                  I've eat at both Daikoku and Orochon and enjoy both.

                  If Daikoku is only ok (on a scale of 1 to 10 that makes it a 5) I'm curious to know what in the city of LA is a 10 for ramen.

                  1. re: burntwater

                    Hi burntwater,

                    Good question. :) Ultimately everyone's taste is unique to themselves and it's subjective: What one person loves about one bowl of Ramen may not be as attractive to someone else. What one person thinks is "too salty" may not be salty enough for another. And some people love a certain style of Ramen as aforementioned, like a Shio (Salt) broth vs. a Shoyu or a Tonkotsu broth, so that might influence their choice for favorites. Just some things to keep in mind. (^_~)

                    That being said, using your scale of Daikokuya being a "5" (out of 10), I've never encountered a perfect "10" Ramen in L.A. / O.C. yet. One can only hope this may happen eventually.

                    1. re: exilekiss

                      Exile, thanks for your reply.

                      I agree by putting Daikokuya at a #5 it leaves plenty of room for us LA hopefuls for a place to step up and receive a ten rating.
                      BTW my taste buds tell me it's above average for LA at least a 5.999995 (smile)

                      Here you go number one in Japan (still subjective) but I'm sure it beats anything we have here in LA. Looks like he makes each bowl from scratch.

                      1. re: burntwater

                        Thanks for the vid! Sadly, I think all 30 could still beat anything we have in LA...haha (ok that wasn't very funny). But I still have hope!

                2. Agreed with Exilekiss, if you haven't done Santouka already it's definitely worth a try (the pork slices were too fatty for me when I went, but the broth was golden).

                  I also like Hacienda Height's Foo Foo Tei, their non-ramen dishes (particularly the gianormous shu mai) are pretty good too.

                  Finally, do save the date for next September with Mitsuwa markets does their Hokkaido Fair -- I heard raves for the Hokkaido-style corn butter ramen that's served up there (alas, I missed out on that when I went.) Save your stomach too for the hokkaido-milk cream puffs!


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: AquaW

                    That would be sumire ramen. but i say the Ice Cream soft serve is Incredible

                    1. re: AquaW

                      If you like miso ramen, Sumire's (at the Hokkaido Fair) is very good - oily as all heck, and unfortunately the chashu are these miniscule little cubes, but otherwise very good. IIRC the noodles are better than Santouka's.

                      1. re: mrhooks

                        I did not like the regular sumire ramen at ALL. It was overly, overly fatty. The broth was so fatty that it retained heat for sooooo long. I think I burned my tongue on it. The pork is also subpar. The noodles, however, are godly.

                    2. I am thrilled with all these recs. Can't wait to expand my ramen horizons

                      1. having been to both the costa mesa and torrance santoukas in the past 3 days, the torrance santouka is vastly, vastly superior

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ns1

                          They're also by far the slowest. Torrance is more consistently good, but when Costa Mesa is "on" it's just perfect. That said, the pork on the special plate (huzzah for the New Year's special!) was WAY better at Torrance.

                          What a shame that Torrance might as well be on Mars and Costa Mesa is much closer by.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Costa Mesa also has the horrendous parking. However, I've never waited longer than 10-15 minutes for ramen at Torrance, and I usually go during the Friday lunch rush. Usually I can get my order within 5 minutes. Also, there's rarely a long line to order. The freakishly long 30? minute wait I had at Costa Mesa, combined with the parking, turned me off of that place for good.

                        2. Fantastic job everyone! I am going to Asa in Gardena tonight.

                          1. I've tried daikokuya, shin sen gumi, san sui tei, ajisen, orochon and of those i like daikokuya the best. I like the whole egg perfectly cooked, the wavy noodles, the savory pork, the broth and even the ton of green onions they put in the bowl. The only bad thing about the place is the wait....

                            14 Replies
                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                I go to Santouka when I don't feel like waiting for Daiko. I don't like SSG's hakata style ramen at all, and foofootei was closed when I went by.

                                Noodles = tie
                                Broth = +Santouka
                                Pork = Daiko > Regular Santouka, Special Pork Santouka tie with Daiko
                                Egg = Tie btwn Daiko + Torrance Santouka, CM Santouka far, far, far third. Note that while I have had some not as tasty eggs @Daiko, as of the last 4-5 months, they seem to have gotten their shit together and now they come out really tasty.

                                Daiko serves alcohol and some great apps that go great with said alcohol
                                Santouka is much faster

                                This is all, of course, IMHO, and I still go to both regularly.

                                Daiko is also marginally cheaper. 8.50 for a bowl with everything. Santouka is 10 bucks for special pork + 1 buck for egg.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Oddly, the egg I had at Torrance this past weekend was pretty gross, but I'm hoping that was an exception.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    Odd, it was fine on Friday.

                                    What was 'off' about yours?

                                    Also, does anybody know where the daiko inside CM mitsuwa is!? I can never find the damn place (not that I actually want to eat there)

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      There's a Daiko in CM Mitsuwa? I go there monthly, have never seen it.

                                      The colour was off (it was badly over-boiled) and it had a tangy weird taste that it doesn't normally have. This was Friday as well.

                                      Edit: The reason I've never seen it at CM Mitsuwa is because it's not at Mitsuwa; it's at Marukai, around the corner.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek


                                        dear god that explains much. I wonder if it replaced sushiboy or something.

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          ns1, it's where L&L used to be. Great breakdown in the comparison btw.

                                          Hey ek, when's the last time you went to CM Daikoku? I heard it's getting better. Whatever you do tho, don't go back to Maruyu unless your car needs lubrication. Their shoyu ramen is like a synthetic 10w-40.

                                          1. re: Keizo

                                            Hi Keizo,

                                            My 3rd visit to Costa Mesa Daikokuya was about ~2-3 months ago? I vowed never to return at that point (the 3rd visit was beyond disappointing). :(

                                            1. re: Keizo

                                              Did I forget to mention this?

                                              REAL SPOONS AT MITSUWA TORRANCE!!!! How can you consume large amounts of broth with the crap plastic spoons @CM Mitsuwa!?

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                This is bizarre. I got a crap plastic spoon at Torrance even though I saw the real spoons and I asked for one and was denied.

                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                  I've almost always gotten a real spoon at Torrance. I went on Jan 2nd and got a plastic spoon because they were super busy with the New Year's stuff going on. But that's a rare rare exception. I'm not sure how it is at other branches since Torrance is the only one I've ever eaten at.

                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                    Denied a real spoon?!? That IS bizarre!

                                            2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                              Hi Das Ubergeek,

                                              Yah, the Costa Mesa Daikokuya might as well be called an imposter: Some of the worst Ramen I've ever had (and I tried giving it a chance... going there 3 times since it opened). :(

                                  2. Yes, in my opinion, the raman at Atch Kotch in Hollywood is much better than that at Daikokuya. The broth is very flavorful, not bland as at Dai....... Also, the optional add ons are great--I get it "double spicy, double garlic", which make for a very tasty and potent brew.

                                    1. I just recently tried Daikokoya, I've been a fan of Santouka's shio since first slurp so I've been really interested in how the 2 compare. I'd say Daikokoya is a better version of Shin Sen Gumi, I still think Santouka is king. For value though, Daikokoya wins in that department, the combos at the Little Tokyo are insanely huge with a salad, rice bowl, and gigantic bowl of ramen. If you haven't had Santouka, try it!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: groover808

                                        Inspired by this board and a recent viewing of Tampopo, I tried almost every ramen house in the greater Los Angeles Area. Santouka, Daikokoya, Wakasan, Shin Sen Gumi, Ramenya, Asahi, Chabuya, Ajisen, Ramen California, Asa, Gardena Ramen being the most notable. I even went level 1 at Orochon.

                                        Given Santouka's Shio Ramen is arguably the best of the lot (followed by Wakasan's version), I recently stumbled upon Robata-ya's Tonkotsu Ramen. Actually, I went to Chabuya, was horribly disappointed with what seemed to me a soup base made from a soup concentrate that can be easily bought at any Japanese market. I paid my check walked right next door and began to order from their extensive yakitori menu. I met the owner Dennis, and he, to my present suprise, informed me that he made a tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen as well as a chicken based ramen. What chance...

                                        I tried both--explaining my mission--and to my dismay, the tonkotsu ramen was bar none the best one I have had in LA. It came with melt in your mouth chasu, fresh bamboo, spinach, nice firm wavy ramen, a sweet soy marinated half egg, sliced pickled ginger and a broth that put it over the top. The spicy chicken ramen had a kick to it with a nice homemade chicken broth and ground chicken inside.

                                        I think next time I come, I'm going to try the tonkotsu with the same spiciness as the spicy chicken ramen. Should be a winner.