Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gardena: Mottainai Ramen

I truly believe that there's nothing better on a cold day than a big bowl of ramen. Not hot chocolate, not chicken noodle soup or chili, but ramen. Of course now that winter is finally here, time to head off to one of my favorite ramen shops!

Mottainai Ramen is actually fairly new in Gardena, a city known for many Japanese eateries. It's even featured in the LA Times (here) since their ramen is unique when you compare it to others, and is slowly becoming or already a legit contender for the spot of top ramen shops in LA.

Mottainai Ramen
1630 W Redondo Beach Blvd Ste 9
Gardena, CA 90247

Menu. Very simple.

Don't know which of the 3 soup-base to choose from? You can ask for samplings of all three!

Gyoza. Limited to 20 order per day.

At Mottainai, you can order these flavor "bombs" to enhance your ramen!

red bomb
"Red Bomb" is essential lard and chili paste. It's how they make it "spicy ramen" and it's a must for me.

white bomb
"White Bomb" is pork fat + garlic. Yes, pork fat. If you like your soup base to be really porky, then bam, that's the best thing in the world. Is it healthy? Who the hell cares?? Just get it.

Sapporo ramen, my favorite, is miso + pork broth. I like the pork broth here a lot, and when they add miso to it, it really adds another layer. Same toppings for all three types of ramen but with Sapporo, you get ground pork in your ramen as well besides thick cuts of chasu. Egg ramen noodles also very delicious.

soft boiled egg
Marinated soft-boiled egg. Done perfectly :]

The Yokohama is essentially the same pork broth but without miso & the ground pork. Same type of noodles but the chasu is thinly sliced.

The Tokyo ramen is essentially shoyu at most restaurants. Using a chicken broth, the soup base is lighter and you can really taste all the toppings without having the soup overpowering it. Ramen noodle is different from the pork broth-based ramen, and chasu is a different cut.

If I could and had a big enough stomach for all three, I would.