Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Best Ramen Bowls in LA #1: Men Oh Tokushima

This is the first post of a new series where I'm follow this article's Discover Los Angeles "The Best Ramen Bowls in LA".  Granted there are a lot of different sites that say they have the "best list", but I'm committed to trying all of these.  While I've been to some of these places before, I've decided to only order the ramen they recommend on the article in order to try out the "best bowls".  I'm committed to finish this list before I graduate in May.  Please note that the order in which they are written are not determined in any particular way, rather I just decided to go to that one on that particular day.  

Which brings us to the first bowl that I enjoyed: Men Oh Tokushima. Located in a side strip mall in Little Tokyo, it's actually a little bit harder to find as the storefront faces an internal parking lot as opposed to the main roads.  Their address is: 456 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

I ordered the Tokushima Ramen, their eponymous bowl. Tonkotsu (pork bone) soup that's been stewed for 16 hours that has been infused with a specially seasoned soy sauce. Their recipe, originating from the Tokushima region features medium sized noodles. Their bowl also included: stir-fried pork belly, braised pork, bamboo, green onion, bean sprouts and a seasoned boiled egg.

For a broth that has been simmering and cooking for over 16 hours, it wasn't very heavy. The broth had a very deep and rich flavor profile but it wasn't heavy to eat. It didn't feel overpowering. The rich pork bone combined with the seasoned soy sauce produced a fantastic sweet and yet clean taste. There was also a slight kick that was attributed to garlic in the soup which made the soup complete. It seemed that the broth was strained and sifted to have that clean clear look with that refreshing flavor. The stir fried pork had an amazing burnt charcoal flavor. It was burnt but not overwhelmingly so. The pork belly was also fantastically juicy and it fell apart at each bite. With a "Facebook like" I was also able to order benishoga (red pickled ginger) which complimented very well with the broth. The acidity paired very well with the richness of the broth. It was a great contrast of flavors that made the dish much more exciting.

Overall the bowl of ramen was very good. It wasn't too big, but filled with immense flavor. What I really liked about it was that the noodles were very filling and the portion size was well done. In some restaurants I order kadaema (extra noodles) because the noodle portion and size, make each portion seem unfulfilling. This bowl was perfectly portioned and I didn't feel the need to go overboard. It was rich, but wasn't that heavy. It felt very complete. This bowl of ramen was very good and it would make sense to be on this sort of list of "best ramen bowls in LA".