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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Daikokuya (大黒家) - Hacienda Heights, CA

It's finally here! The fourth Daikokuya location is now open in Hacienda Heights and is currently in a soft-opening phase for dinner only. Apparently, everyone in the neighborhood is also aware of this because we ended up waiting for over 30 minutes to be seated (no worries though). All menu items are not available yet, but ramen and gyoza were the only two things I was concerned about trying. Understanding that this is only their second day open, I approached the ramen with low expectations and an open mind.

Daikoku Ramen: The soup was definitely not up to par with the LT location, being a tad rough on the tastebuds, but it still represented that smooth Daikokuya feel. The chashu was excellent but the hanjuku egg could have used a little more marination. The noodles were the typical curly noodles that Daikokuya is known for. Overall, it still needs some work, but I'm sure we have nothing to worry about.

Gyoza: The gyoza was also underachieving and not living up to its top 5 status, but I could live with that because they were still pretty good. Just don't let them sit too long. They're much better when they're hot.

From the 60 freeway exit Hacienda Boulevard and head North. Turn right on Gale and it'll be on your immediate left next to the Mobil Station.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bistro Miyoda Noodle House - Gardena, CA

"Have you heard of a place called Bistro Miyoda Noodle House?" These were the words written by a friend of mine while gchat-ing the other day. In which I responded, "no I haven't! let's go!" Apparently, the owner of Bistro Miyoda & Sushi Ichiriki in Redondo Beach has expanded into the world of ramen. With a handful of noodles and several fusion-ish appetizers & entrees on the menu, BiMiNoHo is looking to compete within the heavily saturated ramen mecca of Gardena/Torrance. One advantage...homemade noodles!

Tan-tan Noodles: "Our signature dish! Spicy sesame noodle soup with a hint of vinegar." Hint? Let's just say the vinegar stood out. Aside from that, this Tan Tan Men was curiously interesting. It had a great nutty flavor mixed in with a mildly spicy afterthought that flared authenticity. With so many ingredients floating around and settling at the bottom, drinking the soup felt like drinking OJ with pulp. It may not be the greatest, but for Tan Tan Men in LA it has promise. The homemade noodles taste more like thin udon noodles (which I thought was great) and complement the soup very well. If anything, I would have liked it to be more spicy.

Cha-Syu Noodle Soup: Umm...the chashu was very moist and tender, but the soup was disappointingly boring. It tasted closer to a broth that would be used for udon or soba than for ramen. It wasn't necessarily bland...it was just bleh. And the menma was meh. The homemade noodles were still impressive, but they deserve a better home.

Gyoza & Chahan: The homemade gyoza were very fresh but lacking in flavor. They just needed something more to give it that punch. Perhaps a little more garlic. The chahan, on the other hand, had plenty of flavor and I enjoyed it the most. Here's a little tip: Order the combos (#21-#26) if you want to try them with your ramen. You'll save a couple bucks.

BiMiNoHo is located in the space that Daruma Izakaya used to occupy on the west side of Western Ave just south of Redondo Beach Blvd.

Bistro Miyoda Presents Noodle House
15915 S Western Ave Ste A
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 538-9790
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: 6pm-9:30pm
Closed on Mondays

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chuuka Soba Inoue (中華そば 井上) - Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Sure Tsukiji is famous for their fish market, but there's nothing better than starting a cold morning with a hot bowl of ramen from Chuuka Soba Inoue. This old school shoyu ramen is not overly spectacular, but it just knows how to hit the spot. So remember, the next time you head down to Tsukiji to taste some incredibly fresh and amazingly delicious sushi, don't be afraid to wash it down with some ramen. Inoue is also good for sobering up after a long night in Ginza...not that I would know.

Take the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line to Tsukiji Station and head towards exit 1. Make a left when you come out to the main street and walk a block or so until you see the Tsukiji shopping street. Inoue will be on your left. Order your ramen and eat it standing up at one of the tables out front. Open from 5am to 1:30 pm and closed on Sundays.

Other sites that mention Chuuka Soba Inoue:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ramen No Eki (札幌 らーめんの駅) - Shinyokohama Raumen Museum

The newest edition to the Shinyokohama Raumen family, which started on 4/16, is Ramen No Eki--a joint collaboration from the first family of Sapporo Miso Ramen. Yea, that's right! The same family that brought you Sumire and Junren are back at it again. So feel free to spend your next day off chillin' in Shinyokohama, slurpin' some of the best miso ramen outside of Sapporo, while sippin' on an ice-cold Sapporo Classic. Damn, I wish I could be there with you...

Click here for the best directions and a special offer coupon to the museum. Ramen No Eki is located on B1F where Keyaki used to be. (Weekdays)11:00〜23:00 (Weekends)10:30〜23:00.

Other sites that mention Ramen No Eki:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nantsuttei Shinatatsu (なんつッ亭 品達店) - Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Leave it to Nate to do all the research for me on Nantsuttei. AND, leave it to me to say that you really need to visit one of their many locations in Tokyo at least once! Nantsuttei's ramen is unmistakenly impressive. It must be the kuro mayu. All kidding aside, this creamy bowl of tonkotsu ramen is da sh**! Furuya Ichirô is definitely doing something right.

From Shinagawa Station take the main exit towards Takanawadai and head south in the direction of the tracks. Nantsuttei will be located on your left in the ramen park called Shinatatsu and it'll be the first ramen-ya you see. Order from the ticket machine and wait to be seated. Open everyday from 11am to 10pm.

Other sites that mention Nantsuttei Shinatatsu:

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (インスタントラーメン発明記念館) - Ikeda, Osaka, Japan

I probably don't need to say much about The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum because if you've heard of instant ramen before (and I'm sure you have), then this has got to be one of the coolest places on Earth. If you're ever in Osaka, then I recommend that you check it out. Take the kids, take the parents, take the in-laws, take your momma's momma, and enjoy learning about the humble beginnings of the most inventive chef in the world. There's a workshop where you can hand-make your own chikin ramen and even design your very own cup noodle. And best of all, admission is free!

From Ikeda Station take the exit towards Masumi-cho and it's about a 5-minute walk from there. If you turn the corner and pass an Ippudo, then you are on the correct street. Keep walking and soon you'll see Ando-san's sculpture on your right. Open from 9:30am to 4pm and closed on Thursdays. Admission is free. Reservations required for the Chicken Ramen Workshop. See website for details.

Other sites that mention The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tatsunoya (龍の家) - Mitsuwa Kyushu & Okinawa Fair 2009

Rarely do I wake up and crave a good bowl of tonkotsu ramen, but today was different. Tatsunoya is in town for the Kyushu & Okinawa Festival at Mitsuwa Torrance and I hear their ramen is "BOMB!"

Straight out of Kyushu (Kurume to be exact), Tatsunoya's ramen has been influenced by both Hakata and Kurume styles. (If you want to know more, check out Nate's blog.) Normally, there are two ramen on the menu, but this weekend's fair only showcases the Koku-aji as opposed to the Assari. Unfortunately, the Torokeru Pudding didn't make the trip either.

Okay, so it may not be exactly like how it's served in Japan, but Tatsunoya's tonkotsu ramen was indeed ticking. Every sip of the smooth, salty, pork bone soup brought my tastebuds closer to exploding.

Mixing up the special miso paste into the soup provided a much bigger bang that tingled my tongue and massaged my inner cheeks.

The chashu was interestingly hard on the edges, but very moist in the center. The contrast initially pinched my eyebrows together, but then it led to an understanding smirk. The noodles were typical Hakata/Kurume style straight & thin.

Although the ramen was BOMB, these special flan-stuffed-cream-puffs from Kikuya were amazingly good. Seriously, don't miss out on these either!


No ramen today...sorry

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hanging with my nieces...Jade (4) and Ruby (2)

I'm taking a little break tonight so I can make you say "aawww how cuuute!"
(And that's without including a picture of me! haha.)

So cute...


Goodnight y'all...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ramen Corner at Hatoya Hotel - Itō, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

If you ever decide to visit Hatoya Hotel in Itō near Atami, DON'T! But if you do and you're craving ramen from 9pm to 11:30pm after a long deserved soak in the hot springs and a few beers, then the ramen corner will have to do. It's not really that good and it'll have you stinking like onions for the rest of the night, but at that moment I thought it was the best thing to ever touch my lips. Then I took a sip of my beer and forgot all about it.

No map for this one! I thought I'd save you the horror from even knowing where it's located.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nagoya Ramen Nagoya (名古屋らーめん なご家) - Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

When one thinks of Nagoya, Nagoya Cochin (chicken) almost always comes to mind. Now imagine a ramen made with a Cochin Shio broth, Cochin hanjuku egg, and Cochin chashu. Well guess what? Nagoya Ramen Nagoya has it! Unfortunately, I didn't get to try it because I was too early. But I did get to try the Shoyu Ramen which contained a Cochin meatball. It was definitely some good stuff but I was too disappointed from missing out on the Cochin Shio. Nevertheless, I left Nagoya mostly satisfied.

Located in Nagoya Station in Ekimen-dori (驛麺通り). Open daily from 11am to 11pm. They begin serving the special Nagoya Cochin Shio Ramen at 5pm and it's limited to just 50 bowls.

Other sites that mention Nagoya Ramen Nagoya:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mitsuwa Kyushu & Okinawa Fair 2009

7/16(Thu) - 19(Sun) Torrance, Costa Mesa, San Diego
7/23(Thu) - 26(Sun) San Jose, Chicago, New Jersey

Featuring the Tonkotsu Ramen of Tatsunoya!

"The essence of Tatsuno-ya ramen is rich yet mild broth called Tonkotsu soup made only from tonkotsu and water."

"Their original cooking methods create splendidly rich and mild taste, which makes the soup just more than a standard tonkotsu ramen. On top of that, their homemade noodles distinguish the Ramen Tatsuno-ya from other Japanese style ramen."

Tatsunoya will be at the following locations only:
7/16(Thu) - 7/19(Sun) Torrance Store
7/23(Thu) - 7/26(Sun) New Jersey Store

There will also be plenty of other vendors showcasing various gourmet foods from Kyushu and Okinawa. Check Mitsuwa's website for more details!

Saika Ramen (彩華ラーメン) - Tenri, Nara, Japan

When I first arrived in Tenri I was like "where the f am I?" and then I went to the nearest convenience store and met a cross-eyed clerk who directed me to a ramen shop that was closed. Apparently, ramen-ya's in Tenri do not open before 5pm...except for this Saika Ramen Honten. Tenri Ramen is known for their "stamina" and Saika had plenty of it. This shoyu based ramen is topped with a plentiful amount of napa cabbage and garlic that will blow your mind. Add in a little chili paste and this Saika will have you going Psycho.

From Tenri Station make a right and head South. Once you hit a T-intersection, take a right and just walk and walk and walk and walk some more. Eventually you'll see Saika Ramen on your right. Open everyday from 11am to 3am. Don't bother looking for any ramen shop open earlier than this one. Everything else opens only at night.

Other sites that mention Saika Ramen:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tenka Ippin Hachijoguchiten (天下一品 八条口店) - Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan

When in Kyoto, eat like the Kyotonese at Tenka Ippin. Although there are several locations across Japan and the World, nothing compares to slurping the potage-like ramen in its home city. I recommend going to their honten, but if you're in a hurry (like I was) this location is closest to Kyoto Station. You have two choices for soup base: Kotteri (thick) or Assari (light). Get the Kotteri! It's a thick, collagenous, high viscosity base made from chicken and vegetables. It's unlike any other!

From Kyoto Station take the Hachijo East exit and begin walking to your right. In 2 minutes you'll come to an intersection with the railways right above you. You should see Tenka Ippin on the corner. Open from 10:30am to 10:30pm and closed on Sundays.

Other sites that mention Tenka Ippin Hachijoguchiten:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ide Shoten (井出商店) - Tanakamachi, Wakayama, Japan

If there was one ramen shop in all of Japan that I really, really wanted to try, it was Ide Shoten in Wakayama. I first arrived here on their day off and I was so disappointed that I changed all my plans the next day and was determined to come back. So I did and it was f'ing amazing. Wakayama tonkotsu-shoyu is one of my favorites and Ide Shoten is definitely in the top 5. The deepness of its shoyu flavor is inexplicably soulful. I swear...you'll be moonwalking like Michael all the way back to the station. Don't believe me? Trust me, you will!

From Wakayama Station go straight and make a left on the first main street. After 7 blocks it'll be on your right. Open from 11:30am to 11:30pm and closed on Thursdays. The eggs and maki-sushi's are on the table in front of you. It's all honor system so if you eat one tell them so at the end. You will not be disappointed with Ide Shoten.

Other sites that mention Ide Shoten:

Marutaka Chuuka Soba (丸高中華そば JR和歌山駅東口店) - Oda, Wakayama, Japan

When everything else in Wakayama is closed, don't fret because Marutaka is always open. There are a few of these around the city, but this branch is the closest to the station. They serve a rustic-style tonkotsu shoyu ramen true to the Wakayama tradition. It may not be as good as Ide Shoten, but the deep shoyu flavor is something I will never get sick of. The noodles and chashu are pretty good too.

From JR Wakayama Station take the East exit and head to your right just past the bike parking lot. Take a quick right on the first street and it'll be on your right. It's barely a minute from the station. Open everyday from 11am to 1am.

Other sites that mention Marutaka Chuuka Soba:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shukaen (朱華園) - Onomichi City, Hiroshima, Japan

From the moment I first arrived in Hiroshima and began talking to people about my trip, I kept hearing subtle whispers of Shukaen in Onomichi. Even after I got back, people continued to ask me if I got to try Shukaen. Easily the most popular ramen shop in Onomichi (mostly with the tourists), Shukaen delivers with a distinct fish and chicken (torigara) based shoyu soup that is sure to delight the masses. The layer of oil and bits of chicken fat keeps the ramen hot all the way down to the last drop. The homemade noodles are wonderful and had me skipping like a little boy trotting like a grown man all the way back to the station. They also serve some Chinese dishes that I hear are great. I only wish I could've tried them all...

It's about a 20-minute walk from Onomichi Station and a few blocks around the corner from Tsutafuji. Just head towards the Onomichi Ropeway and enjoy the walk along the Seto Inland Sea. Open from 11am to 8pm. Closed on Thursdays and every third Wednesday of the month. Expect long lines.

Other sites that mention Shukaen:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tsutafuji (つたふじ本店) - Onomichi City, Hiroshima, Japan

Tsutafuji has been serving up a HOT bowl of Onomichi-style ramen for 50+ years. And when I say hot, I mean tongue-and-cheek-cauterization-HOT. Aside from the intense heat due to the top layer of oil and fat that is boiled separately, Tsutafuji's soup is a refreshingly clean shoyu base made from pork and select items of the sea. I know you're tired of hearing about the heat, but this bowl stays unbearably hot from the first sip to the last. Don't even bother waiting for it to cool. Just slurp. The noodles stay remarkably firm throughout, which was also quite impressive. Often overlooked with the more popular Shukaen down the street, Tsutafuji (in my opinion) shares the bar in defining Onomichi Ramen.

From Onomichi Station head Northeast (left out of the station) and follow the road for 15 minutes and it'll be on your right. It's a beautiful walk along the sea so take your time to breathe it all in. There's also a nice little mall that parallels this street on your left. Open from 11am to 8pm and closed on Tuesdays. They also close early if they run out of soup.

Other sites that mention Chuuka Soba Tsutafuji:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Suzume (すずめ) - Nishi-ku, Hiroshima, Japan

Suzume is possibly the most popular ramen shop in Hiroshima. The ramen is excellent, but as the shop owner proclaims: "They only come to see the Kobukuro signature." I doubt that. Suzume also has ties to Shimai, but I'm not exactly sure where they intersect. The soup consists of a rich tonkotsu and chicken base with a good amount of shoyu. I like it and I'm sure you will too.

From Hiroshima Station take the #2 Hiroden Streetcar to Koami-cho. Walk over the bridge and make a left on the first street heading South. After a few blocks you'll see Suzume on your right. Open from 3pm to 9pm. Closed on Sundays and every 14th of the month.

Other sites that mention Suzume:

Shimai (しまい) - Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan

Shimai has been around for years. But according to my friend, the original shop closed when the owner passed away. And it wasn't until his son resurrected the recipe and reopened at a new location years later. Naturally, one would like to know how close the son came to the original soup, but sadly...I'll never know. This Hiroshima-style Chuuka Soba is very salty. It's practically a tonkotsu-shoyu with added salt. It's good, but probably not worth the trouble getting here. The gyoza is also their specialty and they are filled with garlic and chives. They were kickin'! (along with my breath).

The new location is very, very far from the main city. If you don't have a car, then I wish you all the luck in finding it. I apologize for not being able to provide precise directions, but like I said before it's probably not worth the trouble. Open from 11am to 9pm. Closed on Wednesdays.

Other sites that mention Shimai:

Friday, July 3, 2009

A night of pure relaxation!

Paul from Wonton Forest says that this post will suffice for the night. I listen to what he says. This was just one night to relax. It was well needed. I hope you got a chance to just chill. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ichimasa (いちまさ) - Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima is one of my favorite cities. And Ichimasa is one of my favorite ramen/udon/soba/bento/donburi-ya's. I could be biased since our families have known each other from way back before I was born, but no...this place is a hidden gem! It's a tad far from the excitement of the main city, but go ahead and be adventurous. Try the ramen, try the udon, try everything, and take a couple bento's to go. You'll be happy you did.

From the Hiroshima Peace Park, get on bus 24 in the West direction. (If you're on the side of the street with the Museum, then make sure you cross the street first.) Get off at Yoshijima Byouin Mae. After getting off the bus, backtrack to the intersection you just passed and head West down the street with a Police Box on the corner. Follow that street all the way down and you'll see Ichimasa on your left. Call for their hours.

Other sites that mention Ichimasa:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hakata Nagahama Ramen Yamachan (博多長浜ラーメン やまちゃん 中洲屋台) - Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan (Kyushu)

The only thing better than eating ramen at a yatai along a river in Hakata is...drinking beer then eating ramen at a yatai along a river in Hakata. If I can recall, Yamachan may have not been the best bowl I've tasted, but the surroundings made it one of the best bowls I've ever experienced. Eating ramen at a yatai should be on everyone's bucket list. Want more than just ramen? Yamachan also serves yakitori, oden, and beef tongue!

From Canal City, just head North along the Nakasu River and pass through Nakasu-Seiryu Koen (park). The yatai's will all line up just South of 春吉 bridge. You can't miss them! Open from 5pm to 2am.

Other sites that mention Yatai Yamachan: