(Little Tokyo – Los Angeles)
I went to this noodle house in Little Tokyo about 3 years ago, being my gateway to the world of excellent ramen here in the States. I had once been to Japan years before, having randomly tried about a dozen or so noodle shops there. It planted an early seed in me, one in which I just assumed couldn’t be itched until I returned there. Shops dedicated solely to making ramen are rampant all over Japan, having a density much like the KFC/Taco Bell/Mcdonald’s culture that exists here. Today, a number of well-respected Japanese ramen noodle companies are breaking into the American market and expanding beyond their base Japanese expatriate clientele. This is evident not only with ramen shops but with major efforts to export high-grade packaged fresh noodle ramen for the home. More on that later.
Daikokuya has received mucho praise from the press and, consequently, is a place where, if you’re planning to have an experience that is primarily about the ramen and not the scene, you must go early. Ramen lovers complain vociferously about how they have gone downhill after becoming well-known. I suspect that these are the same folks who complain about Santouka. I say if you’re going to complain about Daikokuya, complain about the prices, the wait, and the crowds, but don’t blast their ramen. It's spectacular.
I ordered their famed shoyu-tonkotsu with extra Kotteri
(meaning a more porky concentration to the broth, creating a further richness. Asseri
being primarily a chicken-base broth) accompanied with loads of neg
i, marinated tamago
, and moyashi
(bean sprouts) and topped with toasted sesame seeds.
I wasn’t planning on returning to Daikokuya on this trip figuring I already highly enjoyed it once and had a laundry list of other promising ramen shops that existed in areas such as Torrance, Gardena, Sawtelle, and the San Gabriel Valley. Good thing I did. Overall, this was easily one of the best ramen I tried in Los Angeles. Every component was outstanding. Their rich tonkotsu broth had a pleasant mushroomy element and was surprisingly light on salt. Their imported but basic chijire
(curly) egg noodle kept its integrity like no other being firm yet distinct.
(marinated Kurobuta) was a thicker cut than any other I had but was still moist and highly flavorful—actually, in a league all its own. Absolutely beautiful, luscious striated fattiness that still demanded a nice toothsome bite, unlike Santouka which was more silky and almost brined-like (still great, though). Its marinade was notable as well.
Their use of loads
of fresh scallion (negi
) and crisp bean sprouts (moyashi
) were a sensational counterpoint to the milky/rich tonkotsu-based broth.
Finally, the wonderfully molten half-cooked (hanjyuku
was as good as it got with the notable exception of Shin Mama Ramen’s sake-infused version.
If you’re into tonkotsu-style ramen, this place is absolutely mandatory.
Really glad I gave it another try.DaikokuyaDaikokuya
327 E. 1st .St
Los Angeles, CA
Other Los Angeles-area ramen noodle shops:Hakata Shin Sen Gumi RamenUmemura Ramen & Shisen RamenShin Mama RamenGardena Ramen & Foo Foo Tei RamenChin-ma-ya RamenSantouka RamenAsa Ramen