Santouka Ramen

Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 S. Centinela Ave.
Mar Vista, CA 90066


  • Daily 11am-8pm
  • $
  • Takeout
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • No Alcohol
  • Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Not Necessary
Part of a Japanese chain with American outlets in Torrance and Costa Mesa, Santouka is pretty spare for a food-court restaurant. A wooden vitrine to one side of the cash register displays plastic replicas of the food on the menu, which you are well-advised to study — if you aren’t ready to order when you reach the counter, you will be ignored. What you get at Santouka is ramen, or more specifically shio ramen, thin, squiggly noodles served in a boiling-hot pork broth minimally seasoned with salt. Floating among the noodles will be a bit of seaweed, a pinch of chopped green onion, a thin round of bland fishcake and three slices of pork. At the exact middle point of the bowl is a single scarlet pickle, the dot over the “i” that brings the entire composition into focus. Add or subtract a buck or two and get a bigger or smaller bowl than the default size; throw in a couple more and get a bowl of rice topped with glistening salmon roe, with bonito flakes and chopped green onions, or a frosting of hyperstinky fermented soybeans. But the top of the line is undoubtedly the ramen with special pork — which is to say, a plateful of fattier, roastier slices of pork served on the side, unsullied by the taste of noodles or broth.

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