Thursday, February 11, 2010

For the love of ramen

We got a recommendation to try out Daikokuya in Little Tokyo for a superb ramen meal. Just a warning though, this place is not for the impatient. The wait on a Tuesday at 8pm for 2 people was over an hour, but the food is definitely worth it and once you're seated, the service is quick.

Bleu ordered the Daikoku ramen ($8.50) and Bourbon ordered the Daikoku ramen combination with shredded pork rice bowl and salad ($10.95). We both asked for some hot tea (free, nice!) The salad came out first -- shredded cabbage with a creamy dressing. Good crunch with a bitter touch. Then out came the pork bowl. The shredded pork is actually bits of slow cooked Kurobuta pork belly...delicious. There's a nice and simple teriyaki-esque sauce (not too sweet, not too salty), some green onions, and lots of dried seaweed shreds. Bourbon said it tasted like the best Yoshinoya bowl he had ever eaten. It could actually suffice for dinner in itself, but we were here to indulge in the ramen.

The ramen was made up of 4 main components: 1) The tonkotsu broth -- the broth was cloudier than we were used to. We're guessing there was a hefty amount of miso. Overall the broth had a strong umami taste - meaty and filling. Great to slurp down. 2) The ramen noodles - this was our only complaint to the meals. The noodles were undercooked, which caused them to stick together and made for more difficult eating. Apparently this complaint is consistent with the rest of the online reviews. 3) The soft boiled marinated egg - The yoke was still loose when we broke into it. Added some creaminess. Bleu's favorite part of the ramen 4) The pork -- thin pieces of pork belly laid on top of the ramen. The best part was the equal part of meat to fat in each thin strip, and the thin nature allowed it to melt in easily with the ramen. Not quite as delicious as the chunks of pork belly from the rice bowl, but added a nice meatiness to the meal.

Overall, Daikokuya is a must hit spot for any ramen fan in Los Angeles. Plus, it's on Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential LA Restaurants (another checkmark for us!).

Little Tokyo
327 E 1st St (between Central and San Pedro)