Monday, January 23, 2012

South Bay Noodle Tour

In Los Angeles there is no shortage of Ramen and Noodle Houses to try.  One day my friend LT and I decided to do a Noodle tour to try a lot of the placed down in the South Bay Region that had been on our list.  Our first stop was Mottanai Ramen.  Translated, Mottani means “What a shame” or “wasteful”, once you get seated there is a little story on the menu of how the restaurant got its name. 


I loved their menu!  Of course I had to go with the Yokohama Pork Freaker, cause who doesn’t want to try the one that has the name “freaker” in it?  The ramen came with toasted nori sheets, green onions, charsiu and we added an egg in there as well. 


The broth was nice and tasty and the ramen egg had been marinated in soy so it was flavorful.  However the egg was a little cold and the char siu didn’t melt in my mouth (like some of the other places I’ve been).  But an over all good bowl of ramen, and their gyoza was great too!


Our second spot was Asa Ramen, but sadly it was closed.  So we’ll be back there later.  On to the next spot on our list which was Otafuku Noodle House!  Otafuku has a humble store front and you must enter from the back.  This place was known for their Seito Soba.  My friend LT was especially excited since they also bring you the hot water the noodles are cooked in which you add to the remainder of the dipping sauce to drink as a soup. 


The noodles were so fresh and chewy!  I am not a huge soba fan, but this was definitely fresh and we couldn’t stop eating it.  We also got some fresh tofu that was topped with bonito, green onion, ginger and shiso!  The combination was so fresh and so good.


For our last stop I had to phone a friend, since Asa Ramen was closed.  He suggested Hakta Ramen-Shin Sen Gumi.  We were pretty full by now but luckily this place lets you order half bowls of ramen and half orders of fried rice (which had amazing reviews on yelp).  What I liked most about this place was the number of options, you got to choose how you wanted your noodles cooked (hard), what type of broth you wanted (mild) and how oily you wanted it (light).  There was also a lot of condiments such as torigashi, soy sauce, roasted sesame seeds and vinegar at all the tables. 


Hands down this was our favorite of the night.  The broth was so rich and flavorful, the noodles were nice and chewy and the addition of the toasted sesame seeds added so much flavor!  We forgot to add a Ramen egg in (so we couldn’t rate that), but the guy next to us had one and the yolk looked over cooked- but not sure if it was because he saved it for last and it cooked in his broth.  The charsiu was pretty good, but so far no place has touched Jinya Ramen for both LT and I, since their charsiu melts in your mouth.  


The fried rice here totally lived up to the hype as well.  It was seriously flavorful, and the place got extra points since they had vinegar at the table, which for some strange reason I love to drizzle over my fried rice. 

There are a ton of new Ramen places opening up right near my house, so a West Los Angeles Ramen tour will be in the works too.  It will have Yamadaya, Jinya Ramen and Santokuya!!  Maybe Asahi or Ramenya as well.  Any volunteers to come with??