When the weather warms up in spring and summer, most of us aren’t craving a hot bowl of ramen.
But just as Angelenos have their pick of ramen spots more numerous than the toppings on this Japanese-by-way-of-China dish, we can have our ramen and eat it too, year-round, thanks to the brothless version, mazemen.
Mazemen, from maze meaning “to mix” and men meaning “noodles,” is your typical bowl of ramen without the broth, so you mix the noodles with all the toppings. The dish can be served hot or cold (preferably the latter during warmer months), noodles can vary in thickness and, as usual, toppings and spice choices vary by restaurant.
Here are six places to feed your ramen craving and beat the heat.
bushi by JINYA Ramen Bar just flipped its Mid-Wilshire location to this hand roll and ramen spot that specializes in regional fare from Fukuoka, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen. The vegan mazesoba ($12) is topped with sauteed cauliflower, atsuage tofu, bean sprouts, cilantro, cucumber, thick noodles and a slightly spicy, house-made miso sesame-based dressing. 5168 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; (323) 954-6477, jinya-ramenbar.com.
DTLA Ramen This spicy mazemen ($12) is served year-round and has thick tsukemen-style noodles mixed with homemade dashi soy sauce and chili oil. Fresh toppings include cabbage, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, green onion, cilantro, shredded chili and ground sesame seeds. The main event is the bakudan (spicy ground chicken) and “injected egg” — a soft-boiled egg injected with homemade dashi soy sauce in the yolk for extra flavor. 952 S. Broadway, downtown; (213) 265-7641, dtlaramen.com.
Jinya Ramen Bar Starting June 1, Jinya Ramen Bar will offer an exclusive brothless ramen for summer until Aug. 31. The hiyashi mazesoba ($12-$15) contains pork soboro, kimchi, cilantro, bean sprouts, cucumber, sesame, thick noodles, and a jya-jiang sauce. The dish will differ slightly by location. 4011 Riverside Drive, Burbank; (818) 238-9867. 700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite B, downtown; (213) 628-3736. 2400 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 392-4466. 11239 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 980-3977. jinya-ramenbar.com.
Ramen Tatsunoya The only U.S. outlet of this popular Japan-born ramen spot serves mazemen ($12.30) in the spring as its seasonal special. It has thick noodles, ground pork, lettuce, bean sprouts, bell pepper, spicy and seafood oils and more than 20 kinds of soy sauce and miso blended with a bit of tonkotsu broth plus yuzu kosho mayo. It will be served only through May 31, but if you miss that, there's a vegan-friendly “summer cold veggie noodle” special from June 1 to Aug. 31. That dish has cold vegan noodles and a house-made sauce with onions, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and five kinds of soy sauce. It’s topped with spinach, tomatoes, corn, tempura crisp and black pepper ($12.30). 16 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; (626) 432-1768, tatsunoyausa.net.
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Tatsu Ramen The Naked Ramen ($12.50) has vegan-friendly curly noodles, sweet sesame glaze, a squeeze of lime, crunchy whole-wheat breadcrumbs, garlic, green onion and seaweed. It can be topped with tofu, chicken or pork and a soft-boiled egg. It’s served year-round and can be made vegan or gluten-free. 2123 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; (310) 684-2889. 7111 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; (323) 747-1388, tatsuramen.com.
Silverlake Ramen The simply titled “mazemen ramen” ($11.20) was added last summer and is still on the menu. Cold, thick tsukemen noodles are served with grilled ground pork, poached egg, chives, fried onion, seaweed, dried bonito, bamboo shoot, green onion and chili oil. The vegetarian option is served with tofu. 2927 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 660-8100, silverlakeramen.com.