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Los Angeles, CA 90012
TEL: (213) 626-1680
What is this Ramen Summer School I have been going on about in my blog and Twitter feed? Our good friend R has inspired my obsession with all things ramen this season, and when we're talking about something Japanese (food especially), it doesn't take much to get me going. This caucasian girl from the Northern California suburbs knows precious little about ramen. My knowledge before this year (more or less) was limited to the 25 cent packs of Maruchan dried ramen from the soup aisle in warehouse grocery stores back in my salad days. The times, they are a changin'.
Late late late last Saturday night D and I hit Daikokuya for bowls of their iconic ramen. He ordered for me. One steaming giant white bowl of spicy miso ramen. See the above description of all the ingredients. I was initially impressed by the boast of boiling pork bones and joints all through the night, which as we know extracts the collagen making the tonkatsu broth rich and wonderful. Kurobuta pork belly is a phrase that always makes my mouth water. Green onion, egg and sprouts just add to the delicious promise.
The only real ramen experience I have to compare this to is my meal at Breadbar's Yatai a couple weeks back. I have been informed by several people that Yatai is in no way a typical ramen experience, and lots of tweets and blog posts disdain the flavors coming out of Breadbar's kitchen at this event. However, I found the broth in my bowl of oxtail ramen to be far headier, rich, deep, dark and sexy...layers and layers of flavors. The broth in my ramen at Daikokuya was much simpler, lighter in texture, in flavor, in oil. I am in no way saying Daikokuya's bowl was not delicious, it was wonderful. I squirreled away my leftovers for brunch the next day. While almost as good the next morning, I was disappointed to see a lack of gelatin in my broth. The cold broth had not gellified in the slightest as it cooled, which made me question the claim of the hours long boiling of pork bones. In my experience, cooking and eating in my mom's kitchen, a broth really made from bones will definitely gellify when cold.
This won't keep me away from Daikokuya, it's just a couple miles from my house and two of my favorite men are in love with their bowls. But it will definitely drive me to continue the search for my favorite ramen bowl. Blogging friends Gourmet Pigs and Exile Kiss have both generously shared their list of favorites and I cannot wait to dig in.