123 Astronaut E. S. Onizuka St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Whenever I hear someone talk about Orochon ramen, it's almost always about the "Special 2" ramen and the "wall of bravery" or the nine levels of spiciness. Rarely do I hear anything about the actual quality of ramen. Although I still plan to take the challenge one day, this day was just meant for unveiling the truth behind all the gimmicks.
Shoyu-ramen (Level 4 - Orochon): Level 4 is the signature Orochon ramen. It's your average shoyu-ramen with a little (or lot depending on your taste) spiciness added. To get straight to the point, I do not understand this ramen nor its concept. And I don't understand what all the hype is about and why this place is usually packed. Maybe I'm just old school. I like spicy foods, but I also like it when spicy foods have character. The soup was so bland that it was almost like drinking spicy salt water. The noodles were even worse. They had a tough undercooked feel that tasted pasty. The toppings (pork, menma, negi, konbu, and bellpeppers) were sparse and just odd. I've never seen bellpeppers in a shoyu-ramen before. Now I'm not sure if I even want to try the "Special 2" ramen. Not because I don't think I can survive the spiciness, but because I don't think I can survive the bland ugliness. I wonder if they'll let me try the challenge with ramen from Daikokuya!
Gyoza: These oddly-shaped shumai-like gyoza were juicy and full of flavor. A good way to extinguish any minor flare-ups.