A rich dish both in history and flavor, ramen hit U.S. shelves in the 1970s and has remained ever since. There is no shortage of ramen lovers to sing its praises, not to mention museums, graphic novels and even video games dedicated to celebrating its deliciousness. For ramen newbies and aficionados alike, Daikokuya should be a restaurant on everyone’s food bucket lists.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Daikokuya is the epitome of a hole in the wall: a small, unassuming space fronted by a modest yellow awning that you might even pass by without a second glance if it were not for the constant line of customers waiting to get in. The inside is cramped, but cozy, and decorated with retro Japanese ads that lend to its unique atmosphere.
Daikokuya specializes in a ramen made of noodles, boiled egg, seasoned bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and green onions in a pork broth. It may not look like much, but it just might make its way to the top of your ramen list. Savory, complex and melt in your mouth good, their ramen is the real deal.
Vegetarian? Fear not. You may not be able to try their famous ramen, but you do have options. I suggest you order the tsukemono, a dish of pickled daikon radish, cucumber and eggplant – excellent, interesting and the perfect amount of salty (to top it off, add a bowl of rice for only one dollar).
Whether you’re a ramen expert or have only ever eaten instant ramen in your dorm room, Daikokuya is a ramen experience everyone should have. But don’t forget: it’s cash only.