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Ramen

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen - AMY SCATTERGOOD
  • Amy Scattergood
  • Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen
Hold onto your chopsticks, ramen fans: Weekly LALALA has reupped its successful Ramen Week just in time for the winter weather, and you have way longer than seven days to explore the hell out of Japanese noodle soup in Los Angeles and beyond. In fact, as of Dec. 1, you have two weeks to eat through nearly 50 West Coast ramen-yas, all for half price. 

For one week this past May, Weekly LALALA — a local Japanese-language newspaper and organizer of Ramen Yokocho, the largest ramen festival in the United States — distributed coupons good for 50 percent off bowls at 31 ramen-yas from Torrance to San Diego to Las Vegas. The fine print was tough and included certain hours the coupons would be honored as well as a limit to how many orders per day would be served at the price, but that didn't stop ramen fans from standing in line on Sawtelle or driving to unknown parts just to slurp up some steaming shoyu. 

This time around, Ramen Week has become the less time-constraining Ramen Pass, and through Dec. 14, a $2 buy-in gets you half off of more than 80 kinds of ramen at 46 ramen-yas.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ramen

Burger Ramen (NOT Ramen Burgers) Coming to Ramen Yokocho Fest in Pomona

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Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Ramen Yokocho 2014 - SAMMI COHEN
  • Sammi Cohen
  • Ramen Yokocho 2014
Because ramen stops for no one, get out your chopsticks and your water bottles and start planning: The next Ramen Yokochos are coming. There will be two more of the wildly popular ramen festivals in October, one in San Jose (road trip!) and one closer to home, at Pomona Fairplex. (You know, the place they once called the L.A. County Fairgrounds.) The San Jose festival comes first, on the weekends of Oct. 3-5 and Oct. 10-12. The L.A. fest will be just one two-day weekend, on Oct. 18-19.

So far, there are a dozen ramen-yas signed up for the L.A. Ramen Yokocho fest, including Tsujita, Daikokuya and Shin-Sen-Gumi from L.A.; Hiromaru from Las Vegas and Toyama; Men Oh from San Francisco and Tokyo; Monta from Las Vegas; Iroha, Norio, Hide Chan, Kohmen and a collaboration between Wakamusha and Tanatsumono, all from Japan. 

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ramen

Ramen Iroha Closed; Chef Opens Restaurant Shu-Chan

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Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 11:49 AM
chorizo ramen at Shu-Chan - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • chorizo ramen at Shu-Chan
When one ramen shop closes, another one opens. Just remember that, when you show up at Marukai market in Gardena and stare longingly at the ramen-ya-shaped hole where Ramen Iroha used to be.

Yep, Iroha — one of our picks for the city's 99 Essential Restaurants in 2014 — closed about a month ago. So go buy some baumkuchen and bags of dried squid at the market and console yourself in the fact that you have only to go a mile or so down Western to find the ramen-ya that Shuji and Mariko Hisataka opened this Monday, Aug. 4.

The new restaurant, Restaurant Shu-Chan, is an entirely separate ramen shop than the tiny stand at Marukai. But the two ramen-yas are connected: Mariko was the ramen chef at Iroha, and when she left, the very good ramen left with her. The other folks at Iroha apparently tried to make ramen without her, but it wasn't long before the shop closed. RIP, at least for now, to those bowls of black mapo ramen. 

And now you can sit at an actual noodle bar — rather than in the courtyard of the Marukai, crammed with your grocery bags — and watch the Hisatakas and their friends and business partners Eduardo and Marina Morales make you bowls of traditional tonkotsu and shio ramen. And, courtesy of Eduardo's cultural background, bowls of chorizo ramen to slurp with your gyoza, curry rice — and maybe a burrito.  

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Toyama Black Mapo Ramen noodle at Ramen Yokocho 2013 - NANETTE GONZALES
  • Nanette Gonzales
  • Toyama Black Mapo Ramen noodle at Ramen Yokocho 2013
Yeah, yeah, we know it's not ramen weather, nor is it likely to be on the weekend of August 16-17, when the next Ramen Yokocho will be taking over Little Tokyo. Suck it up, literally, and just have an umbrella and a jug of ice water handy. Because ramen transcends minor issues of heat, drought and downtown traffic, doesn't it. 

This Ramen Yokocho Fest is part of the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, a weekend of celebrating Japanese culture not only with noodles, but live entertainment and food trucks. The festival also includes what's being billed as the the Day-Lee World Gyoza Eating Championship on Saturday afternoon, in which you can take a break from slurping ramen and see how many gyoza you can down in 10 minutes. More fun heat wave activities! (Editor's note: Okay, calm down, it seems that WE can't eat the gyoza, but can instead watch pros do this. A much better idea, if you think about it.)

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ramen at Tsujita L.A. - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Ramen at Tsujita L.A.
And let us now all rejoice: As of this past weekend, Tsujita L.A. is serving its fantastic Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen and tsukemen for both lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to midnight (midnight ramen!). Which means you can finally have the best ramen in town about as often as you can watch Alec Martinez's game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night: all day, every day.

For the uninitiated, Tsujita previously served ramen for just a few short hours during lunch, with an entirely different menu of sushi and other small plates offered at dinner. According to the Tsujita website, the dinner menu now is "on a break" and eventually will be moved over to a new restaurant (!), Tsujita L.A. Villa, expected to open on Sawtelle in July. And, yes, there will be ramen there as well, though they're not disclosing quite yet what type will be served.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ramen

Ramen Week: 50-Percent Off Ramen Coupons!

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Thu, May 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Jidaiya ramen - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Jidaiya ramen
We have the Japanese-language free magazine Weekly LALALA to thank for many things, notably the Ramen Festival that has twice brought thousands of ramen lovers to Los Angeles to slurp bowl after bowl in our permanent sunshine. Starting tomorrow, the magazine is doing it again, sponsoring not a giant event but your own personal DIY ramen festival in the form of Ramen Week.

For one week, from May 30 to June 5, Weekly LALALA is giving you coupons for half-off bowls of ramen at 31 ramen-yas across Los Angeles and as far as Costa Mesa, Irvine, even San Diego and Las Vegas. Maybe a excellent weekend for a noodle road trip. Although if you can't drive further than Torrance and Gardena (or even West L.A.), you'll do pretty well, too.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ramen

Men Oh Tokushima Ramen: From Little Tokyo to Torrance

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Wed, May 28, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Men Oh Tokushima's Tokushima ramen - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Men Oh Tokushima's Tokushima ramen
In Los Angeles, the geographical trajectory of ramen shops usually is from south to north: A ramen-ya opens in the Japanese-intensive neighborhood of Torrance or Gardena and then, after the noodle gods deem it worthy, it expands into Little Tokyo, or Sawtelle or even farther afield. In the case of Men Oh Tokushima, a superior ramen shop that first opened in downtown L.A.'s Honda Plaza in September 2012, this movement has been reversed. 

Men Oh Tokushima
 opened its second shop three months ago, in February, in an unobtrusive strip mall off of West 182nd Street in Torrance. 

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ramen

Now Open: Tamashii Ramen House in North Hollywood

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Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Miso ramen at Tamashii Ramen House in North Hollywood - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • Miso ramen at Tamashii Ramen House in North Hollywood
Tamashii Ramen House is a Sherman Oaks ramen shop that's been open since October of 2012. Last week, a second location opened in North Hollywood, on the commercial strip along Magnolia Boulevard. 

The chef, Akira Imamura, worked at Jinya before opening Tamashi. Prior to that, he owned and operated a Californian/Italian restaurant in his native Nagoya, Japan. 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ramen

Chinese Ramen: Reverse Ramen Engineering at Lukshon

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Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Chinese ramen at Lukshon - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Chinese ramen at Lukshon
If the 30,000 people who showed up a few weeks ago to wait, in cases, for an hour and a half for a single bowl of ramen - imagine Oliver Twist crossed with Beat Takeshi - are any indication, Los Angeles is still in the midst of a ramen renaissance. Maybe this dates to the opening of Tsujita, in 2011, and maybe it goes further back, to when Daikokuya first began serving its bowls of ramen in Little Tokyo, but regardless, it shows little sign of abating. As with most food trends, this has meant a happy migration not only from neighborhood to neighborhood but from menu to menu, with ramen showing up well beyond the jurisdiction of traditional noodle shops. 

There's a duck ramen now on the menu at David Myers' Hinoki and the Bird, and for a few months now, from engines of Sang Yoon's kitchen laboratory at Lukshon, there have been appearing bowls of spicy Chinese ramen. 

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ramen

Ramen Yokocho Fest 2014 Report + 5 Tips for Ramen Lovers

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Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 3:20 PM
Ramen Yokocho 2014 - SAMMI COHEN
  • Sammi Cohen
  • Ramen Yokocho 2014
If you were one of the thousands of ramen-lovers who filled Santa Anita Park over this past weekend, on March 29-30, for the 2014 Ramen Yokocho fest, congratulations are in order. Organizers predicted 30,000 people at the Arcadia racetrack on Saturday and Sunday for the second such festival, which brought fourteen ramen shops from Japan, Las Vegas, San Diego and here in L.A. to the masses of noodle-obsessed fans. 

Holding a ramen festival at a horseracing track was an interesting juxtaposition, as we all filed first past circling horses amid groomed gardens, then inside past people scribbling mysteriously on betting cards under rows of televisions, then down through the old racetrack's infield tunnel and out under blazing skies, where bubbling vats of tonkotsu broth and boiling water for noodles and grills for ramen burgers (yes, ramen burgers) were set up under tents. At one point, we found ourselves following a solitary woman in a kimono as she threaded between old men watching the race, like something out of a Haruki Murakami novel.

Perpendicular to the row of booths, people waited in lines for over an hour for individual bowls of ramen, as if a country fair had suddenly been relocated into one of the crowded alleys of ramen shops in Japan from which the festival takes its name. 

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