Archive for 'Ramen'

Dosanko Larmen, Japan’s Oldest Ramen Chain, Comes to Los Angeles


8 years ago this week as a wee lad lunching in Midtown Manhattan I stumbled upon this sign perched high above Madison Avenue.  Promising the world’s finest noodle shop; pointing to nothing. Being a hub for Japanese businessmen, Midtown already had its share of ramen joints but it would still be another two years before the Japanese chain Ippudo brought truly great ramen to New York City.  In other words, the opening or closing of a Midtown ramen shop in 2014 would barely register a raised eyebrow.  In 2006, the Larmen Dosanko sign was a truly exciting mystery.

With a little bit of online sleuthing, I discovered that Larmen Dosanko was one of very first and largest ramen chains in Japan.  “The McDonald’s of Japan” according to this 1981 article in the New York Times.  In the 70s they expanded to New York, serving up noodles in soup or sautéed with meat or veggies, but by the time this photo was taken all of the branches had closed down.  Well, last week Dosanko quietly returned to the United States. But instead of New York they decided on Los Angeles, taking over the Ramenya space on Olympic near Barrington.

And 8 years after seeing that mysterious sign, I finally got to taste what Larmen Dosanko was all about.

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Fukurou Replaces Krua Siri With Best Ramen Deal of All Time


Bad news for fans of Krua Siri’s catfish laab and papaya salad. The 3 year old Thai Town dive with the hidden Issan menu closed a few months back.  The good news is, it’s been replaced by an equally divey new ramenya, serving up a small menu of Japanese noodle soups and sides for ridiculously low prices.  There’s a tonkotsu ramen, a miso ramen, and a shio ramen with a pat of sea salt butter, all for $7.50.  But the really crazy deal is their combo.

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Shin Sen Gumi is Now Open on Sawtelle; Here Are 5 Reasons To Go


I think it’s safe to say that Sawtelle Blvd, in West L.A., has become the ramen capital of Southern California.  While practically every neighborhood in Los Angeles now has a decent ramen option, Sawtelle has practically every ramen option all on one street.  Want to eat the best bowl of Tonkotsu ramen or tsukemen dippings noodles in the city?  Go to Tsujita. Want a pork fat infusion from the place that held that distinction before Tsujita, and has better rice bowls?  There’s now a Daikokuya on the strip.  Infamous Jiro style ramen, with fatter noodles? Tsujita Annex.  Soup-less ramen?  Tatsu has you covered.  And if you long for the days when L.A. didn’t know what a great bowl of ramen tasted like, there’s always the throwback assari-kei ramen at Asahi where you choose between shoyu, shio, or miso (although you’re probably better off driving the extra 3 miles to Santouka.)

So where does Shin Sen Gumi, the Gardena based hakata style ramen chain with locations in the SGV, Fountain Valley, and Little Tokyo, fit in to all this madness? When they opened up Downtown their only competition was Daikokuya, making it an easy sell.  But their newest location just opened on the little extension of Sawtelle just north of Santa Monica, blocks away from some of the best ramen in the city. Here are 5 reasons you’d want to end up at SSG…

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Daikokuya West L.A. is Finally Open For Lunch

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier on Sawtelle in West LA, signage went up a few months ago announcing that Daikokuya would be opening just down the street from Tsujita, considered by many to be serving the best bowl of ramen in Los Angeles.  It’s enough to make ramen geeks squeal because while Tsujita is clearly serving the noodle bowl of the moment, Daikokuya’s ultra popular downtown location could be considered the ramenya that started it all here in Los Angeles.

A month ago the new West L.A. location of Daikokuya soft opened for dinner, but they didn’t start serving lunch until two days ago. And by day two the place is already packed. Check out the menu after the jump…

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Tsujita Annex Brings Infamous Jiro Style Ramen to Los Angeles


When Tsujita first announced that they’d be taking over the old Miyata Menji space to open an “Annex” it made total sense.  The  popular ramen spot on Sawtelle has been perpetually packed for lunch since word got out that they were serving the best bowl of ramen in L.A.  Plus, the original space turns into a ramen-less izakaya at night so having a replicon across the street would not only lessen the lines during lunch but would also give Tsujita’s legions of fans an opportunity to eat their ramen for dinner.

Well, the Annex had their grand opening yesterday after a 4 day invite only trial period and you might be surprised to hear that the bowl of ramen they’re serving is absolutely nothing like the original.  The good news is, it’s nothing like any of the other bowls of ramen in Los Angeles either.

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Ramen Hayatemaru is Now Open on Olympic (and Spoiler: It’s Awesome)


In case you missed it on Eater at the end of last year, I’ll say it again.  If you live or work on the westside, there is really no reason to travel any substantial distance for ramen.  Want a giant bowl of super porky Hakata style ramen, you go to Yamadaya.  Want something porky, but a bit more refined, or the perfect bowl of Tsukemen (dipping noodles)? You’ll be joining the hordes, waiting outside of Tsujita.  And if shio or shoyu ramen is your thing, then former westside ramen champ Santouka still satisfies.

So when Besha Rodell from the L.A. Weekly wrote about Hayatemaru, Torrance’s new Hokkaido style ramen shop, back in June I didn’t really pay much attention.  But now that the Japanese chain has opened a second location on Olympic and Barrington, I’m all in!

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DTLA Gets 3 New Noodle Spots, One More on the Way

Daikokuya just celebrated its 11th anniversary last week with $5 ramen, a deal that made those of us who already hate the lines at Downtown’s most popular ramen joint shudder.  I’m as cheap as the next guy, but even on a normal day, the waits at Daikokuya have me questioning how much my time is really worth.  Luckily it’s not the only noodle game in DTLA these days, and more and more places seem to be popping up every day.  Here are 3 of the newest:

Men Oh Tokushima

DSC00038This Tokyo ramen chain opened its first L.A. location back in October in the same strip mall as Aloha Cafe and Sushi-Gen.  Fans of the super porky broth at Daikokuya might not consider it a suitable replacement, but pure ramen fans looking for something new and different will find a lot to like about this place.  Their signature ramen is a combination tonkotsu/shoyu broth, giving the soup an interesting flavor that you’re not likely to find at any other ramenya in L.A.  Toss in some thinly sliced, stir fired pork belly alongside the more typical chashu pork and you’ve got a bowl of ramen worth going a little bit out of your way for.  456 E 2nd St. 213-687-8485

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