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.

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

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:

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:

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:

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:

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!


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.