Daikokuya makes up one of the Big 3 ramen joints in LA. I already posted about Shinsengumi, which probably ties for 2nd place with Daikokuya in my opinion. While I love their curly ramen noodles, I get more excited about the pork bowl than the ramen. Also, the wait time is simply atrocious. I thought I’d bypass a 30 minute to 1 hour wait by hitting up the Monterey Park location. The place is even more hole-in-the-wall than the Little Tokyo location and just as crowded. It’s ok because I had lots to catch up on with Ho Bag to pass the time.
Ho Bag and I go waay back, back to the days when she actually wasn’t a ho bag and to the days when I consumed carbs like a naughty diabetic. I couldn’t think of 2 people who were more different but got along so well. Nowadays, you can find Ho Bag traipsing around the Big Apple living the “Sex in the City” life. Let’s just say she’s definitely NOT Charlotte.
The salad at Daikokuya is far from refreshing or light. The dressing, which drenches the shredded cabbage beneath it, tastes heavy, rich, and slightly fishy. I can only have a few bites before feeling overwhelmed. I’ll give it credit for being one-of-a-kind.
Shredded Pork Rice Bowl
It is hands down one of the best pork rice bowls I’ve ever had. The pork is either extremely tender or extremely fatty because every bite of it just melts in your mouth. The sauce permeates through ever bite and wraps each rice kernel in a blanket of heavenly sweet umami flavor. Big winner here! Because we both ordered a combo of rice + ramen, I barely finished my rice bowl. I took the leftovers home but left it in my car overnight. What a waste!
Tuna Sashimi Rice Bowl
Nothing could come as close to deliciousness as the pork bowl. There was nothing wrong with the tuna sashimi bowl, but it just didn’t taste very special. The tuna wasn’t spectacularly fresh. Ho Bag, being the big food waster that she is barely had much of this or her ramen bowl. It’s how she keeps her “slender” figure.
I never read the menu closely, but there’s actually a substantial description of the ramen:
Even though we are on different land or different culture; however it has been starting our Ramen history from the word ramen: All we want are taste its Japanese Soul and Feel the happiness and appreciation by just one bowl of soup. Everyday, we consider with improvement of the taste. This is our Japanese Soul. The Pork bones and joints through midnight. And, the sauce elaborate over and over. Special Chijre noodle hook up the soup of our efforts. Homemade pork belly will melt in your mouth.
I guess the ramen is more authentic than I thought since it comes with the most awesome Engrish description! I can’t say the same for Shinsengumi or Santouka.
The ramen is definitely solid here. The broth is rich, but lacks the punch I love at Santouka. I love the curly noodles and they don’t charge you extra for the bamboo shoots, which come standard with each bowl. Make no mistake, this is a huge freaking bowl of ramen. There is definitely some American influences here, just based on the portion size. You won’t go home hungry here, I guarantee it. Next time, I’m asking for a half order.
I highly recommend Daikokuya, especially if you’ve never been before. Everything is pretty solid. If you’re not a fan of onions I recommend you ask that they go light on them because your ramen and rice bowls will be swimming in it otherwise. Be prepared to wait, even in the off hours. People seem to want to eat a hot piping bowl of ramen anytime of the day.
111 North Atlantic Boulevard
Monterey Park, CA 91754