When it’s chilly outside, nothing beats a bowl of piping hot ramen.
In Los Angeles there are countless ramen options available, but not all ramen is created equal.
Making a great bowl of ramen is no easy feat. It can take 10 – 20 hours to perfect the broth, which needs to be paired with noodles of a particular consistency (nice and chewy) along with the freshest of toppings to achieve the optimal ramen experience.
So where do you go in L.A. to find such a bowl? We’ve got some ideas. Seven of them in fact, along with a host of honorable mentions to help guide you on your next ramen adventure.
List starts after the jump, in no particular.
1. Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen
With various locations throughout Los Angeles (Rosemead, Gardena, Little Tokyo and West L.A.) Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen leave’s it in your hands to create the perfect bowl of ramen. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place, from the strength of broth and oil, noodle consistency, to toppings. Just remember to add a spoonful of yuzu kosho (flavorful paste made of green chile fused with yuzu zest) to your ramen for added punch.
Many ramen joints have popped up in Little Tokyo but that hasn’t shortened the line at the OG of ramen, Daikokuya. Order the Daikoku ramen with their famous Tonkutsu soup served with Chijeri style egg noodles, Kurobuta pork belly, a marinated boiled egg and bamboo shoots. You can order your broth kotteri if you desire molten pork fat flavor in your ramen. This place is cash only so plan accordingly.
3. Men Oh Tokushima
A small ramen shop with a handful of tables and a long bar makes up Men Oh Tokushima. Their signature item, the Tokushima Ramen is a pork-flavored food bomb, with toppings that include slices of tender chashu, strips of stir-fried pork belly, bamboo shoots, soft-boiled egg and scallions. And the broth is made of…. you guessed it… PORK bones and soy sauce!
4. Tsujita Annex
Is the ramen at the Annex better than Tsujita LA’s tonkotsu ramen (only available during lunch) across the street? That’s for you to decide, I’m here to let you know that the Annex serves tsukemen, ramen noodles come in a bowl alongside a bowl of broth intended for dipping. The fantastic tonkotsu broth is much richer at the Annex, almost creamy due to the amount of pork fat simmered.
5. Santouka Ramen
Renowned for it’s tonkotsu porkbone broth, Santouka is a popular chain from Japan that now has multiple locations in California. The spot in Mar Vista is located inside the Mitsuwa Supermarket food court and tends to get super busy during weekends. As for Santouka’s pork bone broth- it takes 20 grueling hours to make and comes with two slices of pork char siu, woodear mushrooms, fish cake, seaweed, scallions, sesame seeds, and bamboo shoots add on a soy sauce hard-boiled egg. Santouka is cash-only.
All ramen bowls at Tatsu can be customized via an iPad ordering system. The Tonkotsu broth spends 12-14 hours simmering. Toss in some chewy noodles and a soft-boiled egg and you got yourself a solid bowl of ramen. They even have Vegetarian and Vegan options. Some extra toppings are even FREE like their corn, fresh garlic and seaweed toppings. Not in the mood for a hot bowl of soup? They serve a Wagyu Ramen Burger there too.
7. Ramen Yamadaya
A whopping 20 hours spent on simmering pork bones is what goes into Yamadaya’s signature tonkotsu broth. Creamy pork broth accompanied by thin noodles make up the bones of this delicious bowl of ramen. They also have a tsukemen option if you enjoy dipping your noodles in the porky broth. L.A. County locations include Culver City, Westwood, and Torrance.
What’s your favorite spot to get ramen in Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!