Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice Bowl...raumen of the gods

327 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mon-Thurs 11AM-Midnight
Fri-Sat 11AM-1AM
Sun Noon-Till the soup is gone
(As a note on their website, if they run out of soup on any night, that's when they close. They do this to give you the best quality soup.)

Once I moved out of the house, I became rather acquainted with any "Cup O' Noodles/Ramen" type of meal I could afford. This is the way of life for many people who need to eat more affordably. You learn how to dress up these meager meals. Most people move on from this stage and dread ever hearing the word ramen. But, some people, especially if their initial introduction to ramen wasn't in styrofoam, go on to enjoy much better and more legitimate ramen. It is with this that you have to understand what a profound love I have for Daikokuya. It may be the best I ever have and for now it is the best I've had here in America (going to Japan in November possibly so we'll see).

How can I talk about soup with such a profound love? If you've ever been here you know how. There's so much detail in their raumen. But before we get to that, please notice the picture up at the top. People come here like it's their job. It's been a favorite spot in Little Tokyo for it's late hours, great food and cheap prices. While it is designed for parties no more than 4, the service makes up for it by being pretty quick. You enter and put your name on a list that sits on a chair as soon as you walk in. There seems to always be people ahead of you but it's never a worry, as I said, thanks to a really fast turnaround.

The shop has a very vintage theme with pictures and items from the 1940's on up. Also, I love the music they typically have playing, which includes some old school swing music typically when I'm there.

Their raumen as I said before is something to behold. Starting with the broth, it's made using pork bones that have been in there for a day (this gives it a slightly thicker consistency then most broths), the egg, which many people talk about, is a hard boiled egg that sits in their own special sauce over night, giving it an ever so different taste... hard to put my finger on it but it's subtle, the noodles are always just firm enough, lots of green onion, and their choice of pork is to die for. It's a fatty black pork that's rich with flavor. I must admit that pork, in general, is my least favorite meat, not that I hate it or anything, but on the meat rankings list it comes after all the other meats. THEIR pork is exceptional by any meat standard. It's so freaking delicious. A big plus is that the bowl of raumen is huge and in and of itself is quite the meal. But you can add on more by making it a combination as seen below:

We added one eel (unagi) bowl that had very hearty pieces of sweet eel.

Another bowl we added was some fresh tuna sashimi. Very fresh and richly colored!

Then also the egg and chicken bowl, which seems like they fried an egg over hard, but while it was cooking on the first side they scattered diced up chicken that had been cooked or marinated in a shoyu based something or other. All of these little bowls were served over yummy Japanese short grain sticky rice.

There is little not to like about this place, unless you're trying to keep it kosher that is(but I'm sure even then you could enjoy a yummy rice bowl). Oh, and before I forget... cheap Japanese beer! $2 for a mug of Kirin and $10 for a pitcher make this a place to go to anytime with some friends. Parking is all on the street and usually you never have to go too far to find a spot. The late hours make this an awesome treat when you don't mind a little waiting around. If you can't wait and are in the area for some "down home" Japanese nonetheless, try Suehiro's a couple of doors down. All in all, you should give this place a try no matter how much you said you'd never do another "Top Ramen"... this place will make you rethink your whole soup experience.

Free Drink Refills: Yup
Entree Price Range: Raumen bowl $7.50 and combinations are between $10.50 and $13

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Blogger Catherine said...

Agreed! Best raumen I've ever come across in little Tokyo. It's the kind of dish that makes you finish every last drop even if it means popping a pant button. Luckily I haven't been there on a busy night so waiting for a seat hasn't been an issue. I might start flipping tables over otherwise.

July 23, 2007 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Aubrey said...

Now that would be a sight! You flipping tables would be one for the books. How's your bum? All healed up from your birthday beat down?

July 23, 2007 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I wrapped my tooshy in Charmin TP so I took the beating with a smile.

"Is that the best you can do?!"

I love turning 30.


July 25, 2007 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Aubrey said...

So charming or should I say Charmin? Such a trooper you are :)

July 25, 2007 at 9:30 AM  

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