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Santouka Ramen: Much More Than The Average Cup Of Noodles

Candice Aman |
October 10, 2010 | 11:45 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Photos by Candice Aman
Photos by Candice Aman
As any budget eater knows, ramen is a way of life.

When hunger pangs strike at 2 a.m., the aroma that wafts from the artificial chicken-flavored Cup of Noodles might as well rival that of a five-star meal.

Apart from the ease and convenience of just adding water, ramen is, to put it into layman’s terms, simply delicious. One might even call it the comfort food of our generation.

Once in a while, however, people should take a break from the industrial size box of Cup of Noodles from Costco to venture out for some authentic cuisine. But for those who don’t want to steer too much from their comfort zone, they can turn to the website Rameniac, also known as the ramen aficionado’s bible, for some much-needed guidance.

Taking the top spot of Rameniac’s list of the best ramen spot in Los Angeles is Santouka. Located inside Mitsuwa, the popular Japanese supermarket, Santouka is not some hole-in-the-wall, word-of-mouth secret establishment. It is, in fact, a chain of eateries with locations all around the world.

The Santouka on the Westside (claimed to be the best of the best) resembles that of any food court with communal seating areas and shoppers bustling in and out, armed with their groceries and other Japanese goodies in tow.

However, despite the cheery and upbeat atmosphere, the people here are serious about their ramen, and the line to order, which usually wraps around the entire market, proves this point.

With basically only three variations of its famous ramen broth (soy sauce, miso and salt), people can expect that whatever they order has been tried and tested to nearly an art form over the years.

Although the noodles are pretty standard for ramen, Santouka's selection of broths is able to set it apart from other ramen joints of its caliber. While the broth of the salt ramen is creamy yet savory, the spicy miso is incredibly flavorful and rich. All dishes come garnished with a tender slice of pork, bamboo shoots and pieces of jelly ears.

Suffice to say that college students will always have a hankering for the trusty Styrofoam cylinders of instant ramen noodles. However, for a hearty meal at a decent price and a little taste of authentic Japan, head over to Santouka Ramen and the standard Cup of Noodles will never look the same.

Reach reporter Candice Aman here.



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