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.
Why this largesse? "So that readers can discover and try new types of ramen," says Misato Ota of Weekly LALALA. Whatever you say.
See also: 10 Best Ramen Shops in Los Angeles
So if you have yet to try Tsujita or Shin-Sen-Gumi or Daikokuya (really?? You've been where?), now would be an outstanding week to do so. And if you already spend entirely too much time waiting in line on Sawtelle, it's a good time to branch out. Or, need we say, try all 31. (Come on. You have a whole week.)
Among the many other shops honoring coupons: Ramen Hayatemaru in West L.A., Oriental Breeze and Bam Bi Bu in Redondo Beach, Fujin Ramen in West Covina, La Men in Buena Park, Tonta Japanese Noodle House in Hacienda Heights, Izakaya and Ramen Yushoken in Arcadia, Gomen Ramen in Stanton, Yotaro Ramen in Fountain Valley and, in Costa Mesa, Men Tatsu, Ramen Zetton and Okidoki.
In Torrance and Gardena: Ichiban Ramen, Men Oh Tokushima, Jidaiya, Asa Ramen, Umenoya and Hayatemaru Torrance. Also Eboshi Noodle Bar in Lomita.
And if you want a longer road trip, further afield ramen shops include: Kotetsu and Ramen Taka in Santa Clara; Ramen Seas in Sunnyvale; Izakaya and Ramen Yushoken in Irvine; Tajima in San Diego; and Monta Chaya and Hiromaru in Las Vegas.
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Print out your coupons (which you must have in hand) and note that you only get one coupon per person, they only work for ramen, and only as supplies last. You also need to eat your ramen in the restaurant (to-go ramen is a terrible idea anyway). The coupons themselves come many to a page, and have not only the name and contact info for the restaurant but also a photo of the ramen and a brief description. Very cute, very useful. Now if only we could get those ramen payment machines. Happy noodling.