I consider myself an avid ramen eater. I’m not the least bit embarrassed that I listed it as my addiction in the About Us section of our blog. And I continually strive to be as knowledgeable as I can about the ramen culture here in Los Angeles where I live. By popular demand amongst my close friends who are all too familiar with my love affair with ramen, I will be posting a Top 10 Ramen in LA post at some point. But for this week, since Amy shared her new favorite ramen find in Shanghai, I also wanted to get in on the ramen action and spotlight my LA favorite for many years.
What’s notable about Shin-Sen-Gumi is its authenticity and customization: you get to choose how firm or soft you want your noodles, as well as the heaviness vs. lightness of the amazing tonkatsu broth. I like chewier noodles so I always opt for the hard ones. Unlike other ramen places, this Hakata style ramen joint also allows you to add more noodles to your bowl at an extra cost. To me, what really makes them shine is the absolute consistency of their ramen each time (while not so much the consistently long waiting line out the door!)
For tapas, we had the goma spinach with black sesame sauce (of course!) The consistency was like peanut butter, an interesting start to our meal. Next came the soft shell crab which was amazingly crispy and delicious. We rounded off our starters with the ahi poke which was yummy as well. As sides for our ramen, we ordered both hard-boiled and poached eggs, as well as spicy miso paste for those moments when you want a little kick!
I had my usual Hakata Ramen, and the broth was flavorful and very hot, just the way I like it. I added a healthy dose of sesame seeds to give the white broth a smokey flavor. You just can’t go wrong with sesame as a topping. The noodles were al dente just as I requested. Paired with a cold Sapporo beer, my trusty bowl of ramen was the perfect meal for a night out with friends.
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen / Los Angeles
(Locations in Little Tokyo, West LA, Monterey Park, Rosemead, Gardena, and Fountain Valley)