Daikokuya

Pork Ramen

It was Friday night and Penelope got off after midnight. I was hungry for some hot ramen goodness so I hopped in the lopers’ car and we headed down to my favorite area for late night dining, Little Tokyo. In my quest to try every restaurant in LT, starting with the spots that are open late, I have been to most of the eateries along First street south of San Pedro. Although my favorite low price restaurant is currently Suehiro, I was recently referred to Daikokuya in the comments on my post about Mr. Ramen.

The atmosphere in Daikohuya is casual like most of the restaurants along First that are open late. When we showed up all the tables were full we opted to sit at the bar in front of the stainless steel pony wall that is labeled “Hot Don’t Toutch”(sic). Of course being the curious foolish people that we are we decided to touch the metal plate to see how hot it was, as it turns out it was just slightly warm and we used it to fend of the icy chill of the uncommonly cold LA weather.

The waitress was attentive and friendly and took our drink order promptly. They have Kirin on tap, which is awesome and if I was feeling a little more adventurous I would have ordered a whole pitcher, but instead I just had a mug of the bubbly stuff and a large hot sake. When our drinks came I ordered the ramen with extra pork and tsukemono which is a selection of japanese pickles.

Being that we were sitting right in front of the kitchen we were able to watch the new latino recruit prepare our ramen under close supervision of his japanese boss. He first opened up a bag of cooked noodles and put them into a cone shaped strainer. Then he dipped the strainer into a large aluminum cauldron filled with boiling water. After the time started beeping he fished out the noodles and put them into the bowl of broth along with a pickled egg that according to the menu was soaked overnight in their secret sauce, several slices of black pork, toasted sesames and chopped scallions.

The broth wasn’t as steamy as I would have liked it to be but the flavor was spot on, I will have to go back and taste the broth again to be sure, but I think I like Mr. Ramen’s broth better. Unfortunately the pork slices were cold as was the egg and I think that there was some data corruption somewhere in the ordering transaction and the extra pork bit was swapped with the extra onions bit, or possibly they normally put a huge scoop of onions on there. I’ll blame the new guy for now. The noodles were firm, but not underdone although I think I also liked Mr. Ramen’s more curly and clear noodles a bit better.

tsukemono

The tsukemono was quite good. I particularly enjoyed the yellow daikon wrapped around toasted sesame seeds and shizo leaf. I need to learn more about tsukemono as I don’t know what the green or brown pickles were, but I think the brown ones where some type of kelp and the green ones cucumbers.

All in all I enjoyed the whole Daikokuya experience and I’m sure I will eat there in the future. [The other photos can be found here.]

8 Replies to “Daikokuya”

  1. i do love this joint. give it another shot – i think it has mr. ramen beat, though I haven’t been to either particularly recently. that said, anytime I’m under the weather you can find me here, belly up, hunched over a bowl of steamy goodness.

  2. Ryan: I’m not a hit and run / one hitter quitter kind of guy so I’ll give em both another try. Also if I see sombody with their back broken so that they are able to both have their belly pointing skyward and their nose in their bowl I will first call 911 and then say hi.

    Salty: There are only so many meals in the day!

  3. Wow, that sounds uncharacteristally bad for Daikokuya. I think they have the best broth I’ve ever tasted, although Shin Sen Gumi’s noodles are better. Maybe you’d like Daikokuya’s kotteri (extra rich – is that the right term?) broth better…

  4. Yay! I was the one who recommended Daikokuya in the comments last time, and I’m so glad you tried it. Sorry your experience wasn’t up to the par I would expect, but I’m glad you’re the kind of individual who doesn’t give up on the first try.

    Speaking of which, the food at Mr. Ramen has yet to knock me off my feet, I think because the poor service has really affected my experiences both times. However, you’re such a huge endorser that maybe I’ll give them another shot.

  5. i agree, my experiences at mr. ramen have not been as tasty as orochon or daikokuya.

    one quick thing to say though. as much as i love daikokuya’s atmosphere, and the food has always been great, i won’t go there anymore. i had a japanese friend in this country illegally, so he would take work where he could get it. for a while, he worked at daikokuya. now, i have no real issue with people hiring illegal labor, but i do have a problem with people paying their workers below minimum wage. of course i realize that daikokuya is far from the only guilty party (probably half the restaurants in LA are), but i just can’t bring myself to support a place that i know for a fact is paying their workers a grossly unfair wage. again, its not the illegality of it that bothers me, but the lack of ethics involved.

    i’m not trying to stir the pot (pun moderately intended) or start a controversy here, and i know i’m just inviting a lot of “but if people didn’t support it your friend wouldn’t have a job” and “good luck finding a restaurant that does comply with labor laws” posts. i’m not telling anyone not to go there, just saying that i choose not to.

    damn good food though, gotta admit.

    thanks for listening!

  6. attention!!

    eek, how embarassing!

    after discussing the situation with my aforementioned friend, it turns out i was mistaken. daikokuya indeed paid him a fair wage, above minimum. it was another place of employment that took advantage of him, and i had confused the two.

    apologies, if its not too late, to daikokuya and anyone who may have missed out on their tasty meals due to my obviously misinformed post.

    sorry.

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