Archive for 'Ramen Yamadaya'

Your Guide to Tsukemen in Los Angeles

Do you think Los Angeles’ ramen obsession caused an explosion of new noodle shops all over the city. Or did the noodle shop explosion cause us to become ramen obsessed? The old chicken or the egg adage. (I kind of wish I was writing about oyakodon right now!)  I’m not sure I know the answer, but if you eat with the rhythm of the city chances are you’ve been slurping up a ton more ramen these days.  I know I have.  I also blew through the first issue of Lucky Peach, watched seminal Japanese ramen movie Tampopo for the first time, and ate my first bowl of tsukemen. What’s the Japanese term for perfect storm?

Watching the long-out-of-print-and-not-available-on-Netflix Tampopo was long overdue.  And Lucky Peach, a joint venture between McSweeney’s & Momofuku, will restore your faith in the awesomeness of print.  If you haven’t picked up the first issue (which was dedicated entirely to ramen), you really should.  But the final piece of my ramen hurricane might be the one that has the longest lasting impression.  On the surface, tsukemen seems fairly simple.  It’s ramen where the noodles are served separate from the broth, which is turned into a dipping sauce of sorts.  But once you dive in you realize that it is far more complex.

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Yamadaya CC Adds “Ramen Fried Rice” To Menu


It appears as if the “soft opening” mode of the new Culver City branch of Ramen Yamadaya (11172 Washington Blvd.) has ended.  Official menus appear to be in place, and as a result there are some new dishes to be had… including takoyaki, agedashi tofu, and gyoza.  But the one new thing that caught my eye was the “Yamadaya Fried Rice”, which was described to me as a bowl of fried rice topped with all the things you’d find on a bowl of their ramen.  Yes please!  Clearly the two big hunks of kakuni pork belly are the biggest improvement over the standard fried rice, but I also liked the greens and the seasoned egg.  And if you told me they snuck a little ramen broth in there, for fat and flavor, I would totally believe you (which in the end is more important than whether or not they actually do it, right?)  At $8 or $9 it’s a bit expensive as a side dish, but considering the size of the ramen bowl it comes in it’s probably meant to be eaten as a stand alone lunch.  It also has solidified Yamadaya as my go-to Westside ramenya (sorry Santouka!)

Ramen Yamadaya Comes Between Santouka & I

Ramen Yamadaya Comes Between Santouka & I


My dearest Santouka,

We had a nice run, but I’ve met somebody else.

This Fat Guy.

After months of construction, and weeks of countdown signs with questionable math, Ramen Yamadaya finally opened their doors on Washington & Sepulveda on Saturday. A Torrance transplant, with the highest endorsement there is in the ramen world, the excitement for Yamadaya has been pretty intense- even though the westside is not the ramen deprived wasteland of, say, the pre-Jinya valley.  After all, while some ramen snobs get positively burger’ish about the best bowl noodles in Southern California, most people choose their ramen spots by location.  If you’re Downtown, and have a lot of time on your hands, you go to Daikokuya. Mid City? Robata Jinya.  The Valley? Ramen Jinya. Westside has always been owned by Santouka. And if you live in Torrence you go to- oh, who am I kidding. If you live in Torrence, you’re not reading what a short fat Jewish guy thinks about pork bone ramen.

In other words, I’m not here to proclaim Yamadaya the greatest bowl of ramen in the entire universe. Better than this. Better than that. (I’ll leave that to the experts.) But, as a resident of Culver City, and a lover of tonkotsu ramen, I can safely say that it was good enough on day 4 to (easily) be in consideration for go-to ramen king of the Westside.

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