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Ramen Wars!

  • m
  • Mr. Taster Sep 22, 2005 05:28 PM

Long ago on a continent far far away...

RAMEN WARS

starring
Mr. Taster and his lovely Tasting Assistant

This week...
RAMEN-YA!
ASAHI!
DAIKOKOYA!(sp?)

Tuesday night: RAMEN-YA!

On Olympic, near Sawtelle. Gyoza unspectacular. Cubed cold tofu appetizer with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and green onions was surprisingly tasty. Ramen soup... (added wontons for $1.50). Wontons wimpy and largely flavorless. Really nice, chewy noodles, *super* tender stewed pork (not enough, however) and a tasty but unspectacular soy broth. $17 out the door.

Weds night: Asahi Ramen

On Sawtelle. Gyoza similarly unspectacular (are there any in this town that are spectacular?). Shredded cucumber and chicken appetizer with sesame seeds and soy ginger marinade was the tastiest thing we had (about $3) The ramen? Weird, perfectly circular slices of dry, flavorless Porc(tm). Looked like it was sliced from a formed loaf. Startling in it's contrast to the lovely succulent, tender bits of stewed prok we had the night before. Noodles not as chewy, but broth was similar (i.e. unspectacular). Total bill... $18

Tonight.... Daikokoya(sp?)

In Little Tokyo. Have read several great posts about this place on CH... including one account of a person who took his homesick Japanese friend and when he tasted the ramen, he cried. I am hoping to have a similar experience tonight. Any ordering suggestions?

And now... the future. What other outstanding ramen places does LA have to offer?

TO BE CONTINUED....

Mr. Taster

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  1. Please try the gyoza at Daikoyuya and let me know how you think they compare...I think they're tasty, although greasy.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty
      d
      Don't Get Ramen

      I've only been to one Ramen restaurant - Kinchan's on Sawtelle, which has a decent rep on this board. The noodles had a consistency identical to spaghetti. It was boring. Is this the nature of ramen or just Kinchan's?

      1. re: Don't Get Ramen

        I've had a similar expereicne w/ the ramen at Ramen-Ya on Pico. First off, I couldn't believe I was dragged to PAY for ramen, and then when I tasted it, I was so mad at how awful it tasted. I'll stick to eating ramen at home, and you can make it look like the restaurant served kind by just adding an egg, some chopped up green onion, maybe some slices of beef or chicken....I'll never try another ramen place again.

        1. re: WaterIsGood

          I am going to have to disagree. A proper bowl of ramen at a good shop cannot be compared to instant ramen dressed up at home. I encourage you to try another shop with an open mind. Dont let your first bad experience turn you off from such a great meal

          1. re: MEalcentric
            k
            kimpossible1138

            I second that notion!! I stuffed myself silly on instant ramen in college, ignorant of the existence of the true stuff. The first true glorious ramen I ever had was in Honolulu, and you will always remember your first. There is plenty of good ramen to be had in L.A. -- you will know it when you taste it. Think about those places that have great soup: totally different from canned soup. It's all about the slow-cooked broth and the homemade noodles. Daikokuya should change your mind -- if not, more for MEEE!

            1. re: kimpossible1138

              Amen, sista! PS, LOVE the screen name. I like that naked mole rat, rufus.

              And Ramen-Ya is a ramen mecca. Check youtube for my homemade Ramen-Ya commercial.... coming soon.

          2. re: WaterIsGood

            You need to try either Daikokuya's ramen in Little Tokyo, or Shin Sen Gumi's ramen (get them hard/al dente... a little more chewy).

            Comparing great ramen like Daikokuya to home ramen is like comparing great basmati rice to Uncle Ben's instant rice.

            Give it another chance. If Daikokuya won't satisfy you, I promise not to bug you again. :)

      2. re: spectacular gyoza
        Yes!

        Tokyo Cafe on Judge John Aiso Street downtown has the best gyoza. I think I've mentioned them a couple times here, but let me just say again how much I love these. They are not like the sub-par,crescent-shaped, doughy potsticker-type gyoza that you find in too many places around here. These are delicate, thin-skinned rectangular pinched pillows of savory herb and pork goodness, fried til crispy on both sides. I accompany them with a mixture of rice-wine vinegar, chili oil and a touch of soy sauce, and dig in. I don't have the menu in front of me, but they have a gyoza meal that comes with rice, or you can order them as a side/appetizer - look on the back page of the menu. I think they're $3.50 for an order of 6. I usually get 2 orders alone.

        I don't remember their hours, but I have a feeling they close early- they're primarily a lunch place. But call and see if they're open while you're downtown tonight and stop by Tokyo Cafe first for a gyoza appetizer.

        TOKYO CAFE
        116 Judge John Aiso St
        Los Angeles, CA
        (213) 628-3017

        1 Reply
        1. re: h2obemo

          Was there last night (see my current ramen report). They were open until 8:00.

          Mr. Taster

        2. r
          rabo encendido

          Nice one, Taster-san...

          At Daikokuya, make sure to get their gyoza. Outstanding.

          Ramen-ya---agree that the pork in their ramen is excellent (second only to...Daikokuya). For the best experience, get the chashumen, which has loads of that tender, fatty pork. A little pricier than other selections, but worth it.

          For my yen, DAIKOKUYA and RAMEN-YA are the places that most remind me of Japan. I've heard excellent things about SANTOKA RAMEN, but I'm not sure if your ramen explorations will take you to OC.

          A couple of other places you could try.

          KOURAKU---I love this place, but their take on ramen----a real greasy spoon version---is not to everyone's liking. Menu is extensive, so I would recommend ordering one bowl of ramen (the "gomoku-ramen" is my fave) and something else (perhaps unagi donburi? (eel over rice)), so you and your lovely tasting assistant can maximize flavors.

          OROCHON RAMEN---in Weller Court. Their gimmick here is spice---their ramen comes at different levels of heat, the lower the number the hotter it is. I had a "3" that wrecked me for the rest of the day (and I think I'm fairly heat tolerant). Truthfully, I don't care for this joint, but might be worth sampling. Ignore the whole spice things and get a "ten". Ramen isn't supposed to set the plumming ablaze.

          KYUSHU RAMEN---in Van Nuys. Hit or miss. Good miso ramen, good champon (spicy seafood ramen), but the jia-jia men I had there on Monday was too salty. The gyoza are not bad.

          Looking forward to further installments. Gambatte, Taster-san!

          Kouraku Restaurant
          314 E. 2nd St.
          (213) 687-4972

          Orochon Ramen
          (213) 617-1766
          123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St
          Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Kyushu Ramen
          (818) 786-6005
          15355 Sherman Way
          Van Nuys, CA 91406

          2 Replies
          1. re: rabo encendido

            Santoka is Above Avg. Lots of MSG...yuck.

            1. re: rabo encendido

              Ramen-Ya is not a place I would take a foreigner to get a taste of home. Although it is my favorite Ramen-ya in LA (I have YET to go to the legendary Daikokuya), I admit the appeal is the VARIETY. With over two dozen types of ramen, from ones with spicy egg drop soup base, to miso, to gravy... Ramen ya covers all bases. Depending on who's working, service fluxuates. But the Tan-tan men is the BEST and most original bowl of ramen I've had outside of Japan. ((Strangly enough, the beef and broccoli is off the hook, too.))

            2. I have always enjoyed Lai Lai Ken, at the corner of Beach Blvd & Ball Rd in Stanton/Anaheim. Decent roast pork ramen, fine gyoza and even decent shu-mai. Worth the drive from L.A., we make it about once a month. Good report thus far!

              1. My husband ordered ramen at Beacon last week and it came with a hunk of stunning braised kurabuto pork belly. I don't remember anything else about the meal but that pork belly was divine.

                1. If you're comparing ramen, you really should try:

                  Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi
                  2015 West Redondo Beach Boulevard (east of Van Ness)
                  Gardena, CA 90247
                  telephone: (310) 329-1335

                  Link: http://www.mindspring.com/~bwong3/shi...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Todd

                    I agree. I went to their outpost in Fountain Valley last month with a friend and we both really enjoyed their ramen. That rich porky broth has such great mouth feel and is addictive. I don't remember the noodles being spectacular but that broth sure is.

                    http://209.216.253.163/FV_ramen/index...

                  2. My favorite is

                    Yokahama Ramen
                    11660 Gateway Bl
                    Los Angeles, CA 90064

                    They have the best Mabo Ramen. I've tried Mabo at other Ramen restaurants and they don't compare.

                    They have new owners which scared me, but I tried it tonight and it hasn't changed. They kept the old cooks.

                    They have about 20 different ramens, but I always go back to Mabo... no bamboo shoots and some extra chili sambal.

                    It's wonderful!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: mar52

                      What is Mabo Ramen?

                      Mr. Taster

                      1. re: Mr. Taster
                        r
                        rabo encendido

                        Mabo is Japanese trans-literation of Ma Po.

                        So Mabo ramen is like a milder, brothier version of Ma Po tofu served over noodles.

                        1. re: rabo encendido

                          Ah ha! Arrigato.

                          Mr. Taster

                          1. re: Mr. Taster

                            I was going to say that my favorite dish at Asahi is their mabo ramen. In fact, I don't recall ever having the version w/pork slices, so can't comment, but the mabo ramen there is ground pork, tofu cubes, scallions, and the mabo sauce (thick red chili paste-y stuff - spicy but not too spicy) in their broth w/noodles. It is delicious, and makes me happy every time. I tried Ramen-ya's version a few months back and was disappointed. I also recommend the curry ramen at Asahi if you go back.

                            1. re: Mr. Taster

                              Just a word on these extra toppings on ramen, like mabo-tofu, or tan-tan, or such others. Yeah, they can be pretty tasty on their own and all, but these things usually mask the actual flavor of the basic ramen profile, so it's kind of akin to judging a pizza by a jalepeño topping or pineapple or some such. I know some Japanese folks who really dig the tom yun (as in the thai soup) ramen at Ramen-Ya, precisely because it's different. I don't mean to say that you can't judge the deliciousness of these items within the spectrum of ramen, but for me (probably more of a traditionalist in these matters), you want to find the basics first, like shio, miso, shoyu flavors, then tonkotsu (pork bone), and niboshi (anchovy). Of course the noodles and chasu play an important part too. I guess if the mabo ramen is the best thing at Yokohama, then that's something good to know too.

                              When I went there, I thought the shoyu ramen at Orochon was pretty good. It really isn't necessary to get it spiced up there. Daikokuya probably has the best version of tonkotsu, though I haven't yet been to Shin Sen Gumi. But for slightly different take on this, I would recommend Santoka in Gardena or Costa Mesa for their shio-ramen. The toro-kakuni pork is better than most chashu.

                              1. re: Eric Eto

                                I'm still a bit of a ramen novice... can you please define the japanese terms you're using?

                                tonkotsu?

                                shio-ramen?

                                toro-kakuni?

                                chashu (pork... got that one... however per my report, chashu seems to be wildly different depending on the place... I loved the super tender stewed pork at ramen-ya over the sliced bacon style pork at daikokuya)

                                shoyu (soy broth... got that one too!)

                                Mr. Taster

                                1. re: Mr. Taster

                                  Education at your leisure.

                                  Link: http://www.worldramen.net/

                      2. g
                        Gohantabeyoka

                        Dear Friends...
                        and you vegans, too.

                        I'm listing the following two noodle joints because they're often left off "Best Ramen" threads like this one.
                        But they are two of the ramen houses with the most longevity in the L.A. area.
                        They both pre-date my tragic divorce, so they've truly survived the test of time.

                        YOKOHAMA RAMEN,
                        11660 Gateway Blvd. Los Angeles, Tel:, (310) 479-2321.
                        RAMEN NIPPON,
                        6900 RESEDA BLVD RESEDA, CA 91335-4222, PHONE (818)345-5946.

                        PS---One more thing, ramen's traditional companion dish (along with a side of gyoza)is of course chahan (the unique fried rice served at ramen shops)

                        PPS---Has KYUDHU RAMEN changed ownership?

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                          r
                          rabo encendido

                          Ramentabeyoka---

                          Was waiting for you to weigh in on this one. Will have to try out your recs.

                          "Has KYUDHU RAMEN changed ownership?"

                          Do you mean KYUSHU RAMEN? I was just there for the first time in awhile, and the interior has totally changed (new paint job, no cartoonish illustrations of the menu items on the wall) and I didn't see the slightly loco, crew cut, bespectacled 50+ yr old obasan who I think was the previous owner. All signs point to change.

                          1. re: rabo encendido

                            Change of ownership or not, I really like Kyushu Ramen. Their gyoza and mabo ramen just hit the spot for me. Awesomely comforting.

                            Thanks Gohantabeyoka - now that I know about Ramen Nippon's existence, location and longevity - I may venture farther into the Valley for some samplin'.

                          2. re: Gohantabeyoka
                            b
                            BombayUpWithaTwist

                            I just noticed your email address...that's too funny!

                            1. re: Gohantabeyoka

                              hmm, what sort of "vegan" dishes would a ramen place have?

                              1. re: Gohantabeyoka

                                Do they have vegan ramen there? As in, non meat/fish broth as well?

                                1. re: PandanExpress

                                  All real ramen in Japan and its diaspora uses a meat broth, sometimes with seafood added as well. Some good ramen has a very healthy dose of lard added to the broth, particularly for the thicker soups. That's just the way it is. Vegetarian ramen does exist in this country, but occupies the same shelf in the culinary supermarket of ideas as cream cheese in sushi.

                                2. re: Gohantabeyoka

                                  Sorry to report that Yokohama's gone, at least from that location.

                                  There's a new place there called "Asian-ya" and it's owned by the same people that own Ramenya. They serve Korean tofu soup and other assorted Asian (mostly Korean and Japanese) dishes. I tried it last week and it was okay, but nothing to write home about.

                                3. I agree with those who say you need to give ramen a 2nd chance. There is nothing better than to have a good bowl of ramen. The Japanese take their ramen seriously, they have magazines in Japan devoted just to Ramen, sounds crazy but true. Out of the three reviewed, I agree that Daikokuya is really good

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: gachimai

                                    I'm assuming this post was direct to me. First, just wanted to let you all know that I WILL try it again. But from the posts below, the only ones I see that are in WLA are Yokohama Ramen and Ramen-Ya. As my bad expereince was at Ramen-Ya, if I decide to go there again, what do you recommend I get? (I don't eat pork.) Second, I'm assuming none of you has tried Korean "instant" ramen because that is the ramen I was talking about making at home - IMO doesn't taste "instant" at all and is so much better than any of the cheap ones you find at Ralph's or the Japanese instant ramen.

                                    1. re: WaterIsGood

                                      I understood your reference to "instant ramne"...still no comparison to the real thing. None. I dont know where to guide you to since I live in OC, but I have heard many good things about the other shops rec'd in LA.

                                      The problem is that not eating pork really does limit the ramen that is available to you. Most places pride themselves on some variation of pork ramen, though I have had veggie ramen made with veg stock, as well as chicken ramen with chicken stock. IMHO these variations, while still good, dont catch the essense of ramen that the pork brings.

                                      Do you not eat pork in any form (i.e. would pork stock put you off?). If not, you could ask for the pork ramen and just not eat the meat.

                                      1. re: Mealcentric

                                        I would advise against trying to find suitable ramen if you are pork disinclined... that's like trying to find good vegetarian spareribs. It will end badly.

                                        Mr. Taster

                                        1. re: Mr. Taster

                                          Hmm..I guess that ends this war for me. Thanks though...

                                          1. re: Mr. Taster
                                            g
                                            Gohantabeyoka

                                            Word, Tasta!
                                            Vegans should just stay home! (`_')

                                          2. re: Mealcentric

                                            I'm strict on the no-pork thing for religious reasons.

                                            1. re: WaterIsGood

                                              I don't know - some ramen is miso based, some is soy based, and some is pork based (broths). taster - do you know how the ramens stack up with that differentiation (tokyo style, kyushu style, sapporo style).

                                              Also, if you're pork disinlined, go have the noodle soup at china islamic. And MaLan's broth I believe is lamb and beef based. But you can ask (they're now at 2020 hacienda blvd, hacienda heights).

                                              1. re: Jerome
                                                p
                                                Professor Salt

                                                99% of Japanese ramen shops make their broth with pork bones. They will then add other flavorings like miso or soy or whatever, but it all starts with the pig.

                                                An exception is Oki Doki in Costa Mesa, which starts w/ chicken stock.

                                      2. Since mentioning Daikokuya, has anyone been to the sushi restaurant that tagged with their website and also advertised in their restauran; Bishamon in Covina?
                                        gunners

                                        1. My top 5 ramen joints in SoCal (excluding South Bay, which I honestly just haven't tried):

                                          5. Asahi Ramen (Sawtelle) - Overrated noodles and broth. Don't let the people waiting outside fool you (hey, kinda like Pinkberry!). BUT you can browse at Giant Robot and Black Market while waiting for your table...
                                          4. Ramen-Ya (off-Sawtelle) - I agree with you... Good noodles, but their broth is uninspired.
                                          2 (tied). Daikokuya (Little Tokyo) - Nice tasty broth, decent noodles - very cozy, both in food and ambiance. Good rainy weather ramen.
                                          2 (tied). Chabuya (Sawtelle) - Great Cha-Shu, broth and noodles. Get their Zemba noodles (AKA "The Works"). Their almond jello dessert hits the spot, too!
                                          1. Santouka (Centinela, by Santa Monica Airport) - Yes, it's in a food court in the Mitsuwa Supermarket. Their noodles are curly and perfectly cooked. The broth is incredible. My favorite bowl of ramen in SoCal so far.

                                          In the universe of Ramen, we are all mere neophytes compared to Rameniac (check out his blog at www.rameniac.com) - now THAT is noodle devotion!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: J.L.

                                            I agree. Rameniac is the Ramen leader and we are solely ramen-eating followers. Santouka is the best bowl of ramen in LA. Noodles are firm, the soup flavor is complex, and the pork is delicious. Hands down the best ramen I have had. And you can go grocery shopping in the same trip!

                                            1. re: J.L.

                                              Too bad about excluding the South Bay - IMHO it has the most good ramen places.

                                              I used to think Asahi and Ramenya were good, but not anymore. Chabuya is not as good as one would hope. I thought the broth was way off, but the noodles were good. I also like Hanaichimonme in Little Tokyo (esp. for yakisoba), but I think they've gone downhill over the years. My favorites are (in no particular order):

                                              Santouka (West LA, Torrance, Costa Mesa) for shio toroniku ramen, but it's expensive and portions are small;
                                              Shin Sen Gumi (Gardena, Fountain Valley, Rosemead) for hakata ramen (which I prefer, so I tend to go there the most, even though it's just fair);
                                              Daikokuya (Little Tokyo) had overcooked noodles a couple of times, but I like their kotteri broth;
                                              Gardena Ramen (Gardena, duh) for shoyu ramen.

                                              I also must concur, Rameniac rules.

                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                yes...santouka ramen all the way. *fist pump*

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  lol you guys... i'm a little embarrassed...

                                                  but yea, santouka pretty much still owns it.

                                                  i'm also still a proponent of gardena ramen, though it seems like nakamura-san's taken to hyping my site (and the review i gave him) even more than I do ><. last time i went there he was telling me about a revelation he had, and how he now boils the soup for 4 days instead of two. it's pretty much the same stuff, but it might be a bit salty for some. he needs fresher bamboo shoots and i still never see any customers in his shop lol. i suggested he start using a soft-boiled egg in his noodles but he thinks people might be put off by the rawness of the yolk. oh well...

                                                  that said, a couple of other places i've been digging recently are shisen ramen and shin-mama ramen; they both fly a bit under the radar on these boards, but it's decent stuff for sure. shisen seems to be using a fairly firm noodle as of late, and that spicy, tan-tan men style soup isn't half bad. also, check out the onomichi ramen at shin-mama if you haven't already. it's very light, with little sprinklings of fat, and pretty different than anything else out about town i'd say.

                                                  1. re: rameniac

                                                    dude, i drove to gardena ramen after i read your very compelling entry. yes, it was very good, but i actually preferred santouka. i trust your judgment and will try out these other places. ramen fo life, yo. (my mom told me growing up that if i ate too much ramen, my complexion would take on the noodle coloring)

                                                    strangely, the best ramen i've ever had was at a place in jakarta that catered to japanese businessmen. they flew in their noodles daily, apparently.

                                                    1. re: greengelato

                                                      santouka is the best in town overall, by a mile. i'd say gardena's the best for a decently full-bodied shoyu soup, but that's not saying much considering most of the other shoyu ramen in LA is pretty bland. still need to venture out to the OC...

                                                      hmm, jakarata eh? do you remember the name of the place?

                                                    2. re: rameniac

                                                      Based on your previous posts I've been going to Gardena Ramen and have enjoyed both his ramen and gyoza. Yes it's always empty and I hope he does more business and thrives!

                                                      I love Santoka at Marukai Torrance with the best quality pork and the whole experience of shopping there.

                                                      My long time standby is Shisen Ramen, I have tried most of their ramen offerings and the Shisen Pliko Ramen with Gyoza and a Mini Fried Rice are great! The little containers of Chili and Garlic Pastes are like crack! My only problem lately has been that they are experiencing some sort of a shortage or turnover of cooks and they have been closed the last 4 or 5 times that I've drven by for lunch. I then head to Gardena or Santouka!

                                                  2. The only bad thing about daikokuya is the wait. I waited an hour once because I HAD to have it. It is the definition of perfection. Noodles so tasty you could swear it was laced with cocaine. Broth uber tasty, pork so tender you want to eat it all day. The egg, while I'm not a big fan of yolk, has an uber tasty white. It is one dish where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

                                                    Goddamnit, I'm in Ohio right now, and I would destroy souls for some daikokuya (although I had it 4 days ago)

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      I've been waiting to try Daikokuya but its been too hot and hot soup doesn't seem appealing. Should I try it neways?

                                                      1. re: kek is khmer

                                                        man i drove by hakata ramen in gardena today and wanted to stop for a bowl. i will try those other places though. now might be a good time since the temps in so cal are below sesonal average.

                                                        1. re: kek is khmer

                                                          i went in 85' weather. my gf said "isn't it too hot for ramen"

                                                          she didn't complain much when the ramen came out =D

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            ok, i',m just a wimp then. I'll suck it up and get me some ramen!

                                                            1. re: kek is khmer

                                                              Yes, please remember that ramen, though in theory originally from China, was perfected in Japan where the stinking humidity of a July or August day is enough to slap you down to the ground. Your only hope is to escape to the sticky air conditioning of a ramen shop, where the hot noodles and soup will correct your internal body temperature and prepare you for the rest of your train ride/bouncy bus trip/long walk home. Nothing sounds more appealing to me on a hot day than a big bowl of ramen!!! I learned to love it in Kyoto. RIP Chuka Karako Soba.

                                                      2. Last month I used some frequent flier miles and spent a week eating my way through Tokyo. One of my most memorable meals was at a bustling, tiny ramen joint, which featured Tonkotsu (hearty, milky-looking pork broth). I never got the name of the place, but it's near the Daimon subway station, across the street from MOS Burger (if anyone cares to know). I never was much of a ramen fan, having only been familiar with the lame "instant" variety, but having the real deal in Tokyo was mind-altering. Since I've returned to L.A. I've been on a mission to find the closest thing to what I experienced in Japan, and DAIKOKUYA comes extremely close. The noodles were delicious and chewy - the only difference was that Daikokuya's noodles are curly and chaotic, whereas the ones I had in Japan were straight and kind of neatly folded over themselves in the bowl. Based on reading some other posts here, I asked for the 'strong broth.' Yummy. Also had the gyoza and the shredded cabbage salad as starters and they were both equally as delicious. The gyoza were medium-greasy, but honestly, I can't say I've ever had a grease-free gyoza in my life. I loved the way they were wrapped as well - not your typical ruffled-ridge wrapper. These are like rectangular pillows, which was unexpected and delightful. Took a full hour to get seated, but it was worth the wait. I now might have to make the pilgrimage to Torrance and see what can be unearthed. And if you haven't seen the movie "Tampopo," put it on your Netflix list!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: julias_child

                                                          lol you're not making this easy! just a stab in the dark, but was this the place you went to?

                                                          http://www.minatoku-town.com/do/001/005/

                                                          if so it's called "chashu-ya" and they use a "double soup"... do a search on the board or on the net, you'll probably find better ramen than daikokuya here in LA, definitely in the south bay ;).

                                                        2. I've tried both Santoka and Shinsengumi, both good. Always like SSG's ramen, their broth is flavorful, but i've recently favored Santoka more b/c of their chasiu. it's so tender it melts in your mouth :) hahah Fatty and salty as heck....but i can't stop slurping. So if you're healthy-eating concious, go light on the oil and salt for the shio raman at Santoka. Haven't tried Daikoyuya in J-town, how's it compared?

                                                          1. I ate at Daikokuya once because of all the noise about it and I really didn't like it. If I'm in Little Tokyo I prefer that place on the top floor of that mall that has the Mitsuwa in it (I'm bad with remember names). I tried another place on the same street as Daikokuya a couple years ago and it was the worst thing I've ever eaten, ramen or no. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name though, hopefully they're out of business by now.

                                                            I do love Santouka though. It's the best. There's no two ways about it.

                                                            I used to like Takeshi Ramen in Glendale pretty good because it was the closest to me. Their soup was a lot lighter, which I was fine with, because sometimes after a bowl at Santouka I feel like I could go a week without eating. But I think Takeshi Ramen has recently changed hands and I don't like it there anymore. Boo... Ramen is so far away now.

                                                            I also enjoy Rameniac site! It's great!