Welcome to my ramen dream... Currently being interpreted in Ramen Burger Land... Looking for a good slurp? Email me ! - Keizo

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chuuka Soba 中華そば GOMEN - Stanton, CA (revisited)

7147 Katella Ave.
Stanton, CA 90680
(714) 761-8007

All I have to say is GOMEN-なさい! After all the comments and emails that I received from people saying that my last review was harsh and that Gomen deserves better than a 38 ranking, I've decided to give them another chance. But before I begin, let me just briefly explain my last review. Besides eating ramen at Santouka 30 minutes prior to eating at Gomen, there must have been something really wrong with the soup that day because it did indeed taste pretty bad. Also (as we all know) food reviews are very subjective, so I don't mind at all if someone disagrees with me. But I guess some doooooooods out there have a problem with that. Consistency is a key element for not just ramen-ya's but for all restaurants. That so called "one bad day" could ruin even the best of them. With all that off my chest, I really am sorry for ranking Gomen so low. Based on today's visit, this Wakayama Ramen (#17) deserves to be ranked in the top 10 for sure.

Tonkotsu-Shio ramen: Although the genre of Wakayama Ramen is tonkotsu-shoyu, the tonkotsu-shio here is the one to get. Its creamy, garlic-enhanced soup reminded me of フクチャンスープ and I'll even go out on a limb to say that Gomen has the best tonkotsu ramen in the OC. Yes, I said it. The hakata-thin noodles were perfectly cooked today and I was really impressed. The toppings (chashu, egg, negi, and menma) were also working hard to stand out. As of this minute, I would give Gomen the #1 ranking in the OC and a possible top 5 overall just because of this ramen I had today, but I wouldn't set that in concrete just yet.

Tonkotsu-Shoyu ramen: This is what I had ordered in my last review that left a bad taste in my mouth. Today's version was missing that burnt taste (thankfully) and basically tasted like the ramen above on shoyu steroids. Although it was better than before and actually quite delicious, I would prefer the shio version any day.

Gyoza: I liked the gyoza the last time and it was no different today. Four pieces with the combination is perfect.

Chahan: This chahan was also excellent. No complaints here.

Wooden Chopstick: I'm glad these chopsticks say that they're wooden. Otherwise I may have thought they were metal...hahaha.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

GO GYOZA! The top 5 ramen sidekicks!

At almost every ramen-ya around the world, there is a dish that understands its supporting role and rarely seeks the spotlight. A potsticker, a dumpling, or a pansticker. You can call it what you want, but nothing goes better with ramen than a plate of moist, juicy, garlic-infused, lightly-crisped gyoza. So before the soup cools, I give you the top 5 ramen-ya gyoza in Southern California:

  1. Foo Foo Tei (Hacienda Heights): Don't let its hairiness fool you. This unusual looking gyoza is by far the most flavorful and juicy. And don't mistake this Foo Foo with the Monterey Park location.

  2. Hairy Gyoza
  3. Daikokuya: Overrated or not, this gyoza is still one of the best. Its unique shape and blanket of green onions shall please all Seven Gods of Fortune.

  4. Shinsengumi: Despite their small size, these 一口 gyoza can knock your taste buds out!

  5. Chabuya: Gyozahh from Chahbuyahh...enough said.

  6. Kairakutei: These fat-stickers are clearly homemade and out to kick some butt!

So there you have it. Don't forget to mix the shoyu with vinegar and a few drops of rayu. GO GYOZA!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Orochon Special 2 Challenge

For the record, I can eat them but am not a huge fan of spicy foods. Nor am I huge fan of Orochon Ramen. With that said, you won't be seeing me on the Wall of Bravery this month (although I did make the sad attempt). But as a promise to the man sitting next to me who finished the Special 2 Miso with blazing speed, this post is for you Ken!

Here's how it began:

And here's how it ended:

And unlike Orochon, where the polaroids are taken down every month and probably sold to the government in case they need to recruit an army of spicy ramen slurpers, this post will be here for the world to see forever!

If any other brave soul has accomplished this challenge, send in your pics and let me know how it was! I want to hear from ya!

This is how far I got. Not that it's an excuse, but I did eat at Shinsengumi for lunch. And it's not so much the spiciness, but its massive size and scorching heat. Well, at least I gave it a shot.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tokyo Ramen Dream

I had a dream last night that I was back in Tokyo just cruising around Shibuya and stopping at every ramen-ya in my path.

First stop was Tsukumo Ramen:

Then it was on to Taizou for their こってりたいぞうらーめん:

And then a quick trip to Santouka (with real spoons...haha):

And who can resist Ippudo:

And of course, Ippudo was open just for me:

Ippudo's Shiromaru Moto-Aji--pure heaven. Please don't wake me!

Beep! Beep! Beep!...

Yup, this was all just a dream. Too good to be true. Thanks to Lori-san (the biggest Go Ramen! fan in Tokyo!) for sending in all the pics!! I truly am jealous. :P~~

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Daikokuya - Costa Mesa, CA

2975 Harbor Blvd., Suite 5
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(Marukai Food Court)
(714) 436-0151

Okay so it's not Ippudo, but the next best thing (insert wamu sign here) is having the famed Daikokuya expand into the OC. Located inside the food court of the Marukai in Costa Mesa, Daikokuya tries to quietly conquer where Chabuton failed. Will they succeed? Of course they will, right? They're Daikokuya! And they have real spoons!! I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Daikoku ramen: Mmm...good, but the soup does taste muted. The lush creaminess was like heaven, but it was missing that devilish kick. Oh well, I didn't care. I was too excited to let anyone or anything disappoint. And after a long motorcycle ride on a cool Sunday morning, I was ready for something to soothe my soul. The toppings (chashu, moyashi, menma, negi, egg) were nothing less than top notch. Although the chashu didn't exactly melt, it still hit the spot. And the egg is quite possibly the best egg in a bowl of ramen on this side of the Pacific. The noodles were just noodles. Nothing spectacular, but not disappointing enough to ruin it for the rest. Anyhow, I don't see Daikokuya leaving this food court anytime soon. If anything, Marukai just might have to add more tables somewhere--outside, perhaps.

Gyoza: You can't have Daikoku ramen without an order of gyoza! Eating these are mandatory! So order one...or two...or three! If you don't like green onions, then brush 'em off or order them negi-nashi!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

あっち こっち Atch Kotch - Los Angeles, CA

1253 Vine St. #5
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-5537

After traveling here and there for the past 10 months in search of ramen, I've finally made it to Atch Kotch, which literally means there and here. Atch Kotch is a ramen-ya that has somehow migrated up the 101 freeway away from the others in Little Tokyo and situated itself in Hollywood where few, if any, ramen-ya's have ever ventured before. Could this be a hidden gem? Umm...probably not according to the reviews on Yelp, but let's just see for ourselves.

Parko ramen (パーコー ラーメン): Parko, Paiko, Paako...whatever. I guess there is no standard for fried pork ramen. Anyway, this ramen was very very bland. I thought it was a joke, but April fools day was four days ago. The soup had a burnt taste without any flavor and quite honestly felt like I was licking cardboard. The toppings (fried pork, menma, negi, and caramelized onions) were bland too. This is the first time I've actually eaten a ramen and wished that there was more MSG in it. The noodles were the only good news here. Straight and smooth, they had a nice chewy texture. I probably won't be coming back anytime soon, so me saying I'd like to try the other ramen on the menu would just be a lie.

Gyoza: Whatever you do, do not order the gyoza! A crispy, crunchy outside that was full of mush. I can't even describe how disgusting that mush was. Skip these and you'll be better off.