As you know, I’m basically addicted to ramen. And even though I moved back from Japan almost a year ago, I still made sure to eat a lot of it. The following is my year in ramen–plus one hiyashi chuuka, one tsukemen, and one Okinawa soba–consumed at multiple local establishments in California and Hawaii. No full-length reviews or long explanations are included in this lazy blog post (might as well be on Tumblr :P), but you might find a few on my Yelp page.
Happy salivating :)
Shio ramen, Santouka (Los Angeles): best all-around in SoCal
Tan tan men, Himawari (San Mateo, CA): FAVORITE overall!
Kotteri ramen, Tenkaippin (Honolulu): one of the few chicken-based broths around, bonus points for being a legit Japanese ramen ya (from Japan)
Hakata ramen, Shin-sen-gumi (Fountain Valley, CA): best tonkotsu broth
Hiyashi chuuka, Santouka (Los Angeles): a mediocre rendition of summer-style cold ramen
Tonkotsu ramen, Ramen Yamadaya (Culver City, CA): best, most perfectly al dente noodles. Most underrated in LA, IMO
Daikoku ramen, Daikokoya (Los Angeles): most overrated in LA
Shoyu ramen, Katana-ya (San Francisco): most overrated in SF
Big Bowl ramen, Ramen-Ya (Honolulu): I have yet to find a Hawaii-bred restaurant serving decent ramen… and this place is no exception. Stick to what Hawaii does know–saimin!
Tsukemen, Ramen Yamadaya (Culver City): only tsukemen I’ve tried in LA thus far–no complaints!
Nanchatte tonkotsu, Foo Foo Tei (Hacienda Heights, CA): tastiest most original in SoCal
Kara miso ramen at Santouka (Los Angeles): best on a cold, rainy day (though those are rare in LA… so really, anytime works!)
Asari shio ramen, Himawari (San Mateo): clams + a buttery broth = tastiest most original in NorCal
Cheese miso ramen, Ramen Yamadaya (Culver City): one word? Gimmicky! Once it melted into a big glob on the bottom of the bowl, I could barely taste that gigantic mound of parmesan cheese. Gotta try the REAL deal in Tokyo someday.
Okinawa soba, Shin Izakaya (Torrance, CA): not as good as the real thing, but it’ll do