Noodling Around: Eating out at Daikokuya Ramen

Ramen has been known to be a staple amongst college students who are broke and/or too lazy to cook their own meals. These types of ramen that I’m referring to are the cheap ones that you find in supermarkets that are sold in bulk; typically the infamous Top Ramen. It’s cost effective and gets the job done of defeating hunger on a budget.

But can you really truly call this Ramen? My cousin who is a food guru claims that it doesn’t even come close to the real authentic Ramen and let alone calling it ramen was an insult. “If you want to try authentic ramen, you’d have to go to Japan but that ain’t happening. But, there’s a place that does come close to it; Daikokuya Ramen.”

Me being curious as I was hungry, I took my friend to go on an adventure to Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles for the best Ramen possible.

The restaurant’s exterior wasn’t impressive for having such a big talk, but there was a long line snaking into the restaurant. The long line meant that the food must be impressive but ultimately Daikokuya’s fault lies here in that the restaurant capacity is small. We waited about an hour before we were seated.

Aggravated and hungry, we quickly looked through the menu and ordered the Daikokuya Ramen Combo (teriyaki bowl on the side) which was a famous selection amongst Ramen veterans and was highly recommended. We were greeted with shredded cabbage with thousand-island like dressing which tasted impressive but barely made a dent in our hunger.

The real deal came when our ramen bowls came along with our teriyaki bowls. The teriyaki bowl was alright, but we’re not here for that; we’re here for the Ramen. The aroma that the ramen gave off was elegant and mouthwatering and the first bite of the noodle along with the broth was a godsend. It was amazing and my friend was damn right that Top Ramen would never come close to this! The cha-su pork was so soft and tender that it felt like the pork melted in my mouth. The hardboiled egg was cooked just right with the egg yolk slightly runny but cooked to the point of a creamy texture.

My friend and I ate like savages and shamelessly cleaned our bowls with no broth left and sulked in amazement. Needless to say we were “Ramen-Wasted” as we didn’t want to walk back to the car. We tipped our nice and polite waiter $10 for a $25 meal (Combo was $12.50 each). Yes that is right, we tipped our waiter 40% because it was that good and we wanted the restaurant to stay in business so we can come back again. Me being the most cheap/frugal person this is rare and I have no regrets!

For the quality and price you are getting a good deal as this is a must try. My friend and I became Ramen enthusiasts and began hunting for the perfect Ramen bowl and let me tell you, nothing comes as close as Daikokuya Ramen. I guess we’ll have to fly to Japan next time to get a bowl that’ll beat this restaurant!