Hakata Ikkousha Ramen (Torrance, CA)

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Torrance seems to be the mecca of ramen in So Cal.  There’s elite ramen like Santouka, Shin Sen Gumi, and Yamadaya just a few clicks from each other.  However, I’m not going to lie here, Hakata Ikkousha has quite possibly crafted the most delicious Tonkotsu broth my lips have ever touched. This broth is so thick, porky, rich, and creamy. The first sip I literally said, “Wow!”

Perfectly balanced with the flavored soft-boiled egg and al dente ramen. The pork chashu was much more lean than majority of its competitors.  I actually prefer a little fat for that melt in your mouth texture but there’s so much pork fatty goodness here it doesn’t really matter.  Awpid-wp-1446054711247.jpgt 1:30 pm on a Tuesday, this placed was at capacity with groups waiting outside. The plaza has plenty of parking but limited seating inside. I know this bowl of ramen won’t be for everyone, as it’s very fatty and salty. Blasphemy. In my opinion, you shouldn’t even be eating ramen if you don’t get down with salt and fat.

Hakata Ikkousha has earned its place among my list of go-to ramen joints.  Easily one of the best tonkotsu broths around.

21605 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
(424) 558-3953

9TzrMX8TE

Nouilles of 3rds (Lomita, CA)

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Locatwpid-wp-1445029109189.jpged in a quaint strip mall in Lomita, this spot has been sitting idle for quite sometime until today.
There were a lot of building issues that held up the opening, but now that’s all clear we’ve got a new local contender serving a combination of fusion Asian food with a splash of home-style cooking.  The owners were very friendly and explained their unique menu.  The amount of quality and care in their product in clearly noted as she explained their mantra of Asian fusion.

I was recommended the House Prime Beef noodles. It was basically a supped up version of Pho with it’s own twist. This is a dam good bowl of soup and noodles.  The first thing I noticed was how delicious and flavorful the meat was. A million times better than all of the other local options in the same genre.  The menu is expanding since they’ve just opened up, so there will be plenty of things to look forward to in the future.

2413 Pacific Coast Hwy
Lomita, CA 90717
(424) 347-7022

9TzrMX8TE

Mrs A – Hanoi Pho (Torrance, CA)

Mrs A’s pho serves a Northern Vietnamese style of pho that’s completely different than the pho I’m used to.  It’s not really a bad thing, but it also doesn’t make me want to switch to the commi style of pho. The main differences between the two are the ingredients. While both north and south use a beef broth, the vegetables, noodles, and meat are different takes.

If you’re used to the southern style (basil, bean sprouts, onion, cilantro, etc.), the first thing you’ll notice is the lack of condiments or vegetables.  You’ll find no sriracha, hoisin, or basil here.  The bowl is served with a shit load of green onions, noodles, and beef.  The noodles are thicker than the southern style and the beef taste more like some sort of meatball or dumpling filling.

If you’ve never had pho before, this will be delicious.  It’s like a homemade beef noodle soup for when you’re feeling under the weather.  However, if you’re a southern pho expert, you’ll immediately know why communism didn’t last.

2531 Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 534-8889

2 stars

Tita’s Kitchenette (San Diego, CA)

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BBQ chicken, pancit, and rice combo. ($7.50)

Talk about bang for your buck.  On a recent trip to San Diego, a buddy of mine recommended Tita’s for some legit Filipino food.  Upon arriving, it seems like your typical turo-turo style restaurant, nothing fancy or visually stimulating. However, it became the game changer once I took my first bite.  The BBQ chicken and pork here is absolutely phenomenal.  It’s lathered in the delicious marinate, skewered, grilled, and charred to perfection. Easily some of the best BBQ you can get around. I’ll be daydreaming about these BBQ sticks when I’m back home in LA. Their pork adobo was also an absolute winner. The perfect tenderness of the pork and the ubiquitous adobo sauce slathered over white rice is something special.  Amazing flavors for even the uninitiated.

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Pork adobo combo ($6.50)

For $7.50 you get a 2 item combo, and at most places that’s usually enough for myself.  At Tita’s, a 2 item combo is enough for 2 people and you’ll have left overs. In other words, they hook it up FAT.  I ended up coming back here the next day for food for the trip back. They also cater for big parties and even do the whole roast pig.  Definitely check out Tita’s for some cheap delicious food that will hit you right in the dick.  And no, they aren’t family of some kind. wpid-wp-1438536303346.jpg

2720 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 434-3879

4stars1

Ramen Spott (Torrance, CA)

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Tonkotsu Black Garlic ($8.50)

A wild ramen spot has appeared! Another contestant to the large growing list of ramen joints in the South Bay.   This “ramen spott” is located in the Rolling Hills Plaza and seats maybe about 12-15 people max.

The first thing I noticed is the interesting menu.  They provide sushi rolls along with their ramen.  They also have a varied selection of ramen choices ranging from $8 to $11 per bowl.  Rolls were around $5 and were decent for the price.

I decided to give their Tonkotsu Black Garlic ramen a shot since it looked so appealing.  This bowl definitely passes the broth inspection.  A bit salty but porky, smooth, and garlicky as all hell.  The 168ad5jramen noodles were thin but cooked al dente like how it should be.  Toppings included red ginger, mushroom, green onion, and two THIN slices of pork. Unfortunately, they only have non-alcoholic beer here.   After clearing my bowl, I realized there’s another ramen spot to consider when craving noodles in the South Bay.  Open until 11:00pm, this will definitely be a contender when craving some garlic and noodles.

25412 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 530-3900

4stars1

Underbelly (San Diego, CA)

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Underbelly ramen

While in desperate search for ramen in San Diego, I discovered this place via Yelp.
The decor and interior is nothing like any ramen place I’ve been to before.  Its very open, modern, and stylish.  I ordered the Underbelly ramen which came with egg, chasu, bacon, and sausage?

While the noodles were a bit overcooked for my taste, the broth was legit.  A bit salty, but legit.
The meat is where I got confused.  Bacon? and Sausage?  In my opinion, it doesn’t mix well with the broth and ramen.  The sausage literally tasted like a hot dog, out of the 3 people in my group that got the Underbelly ramen, none of us actually finished or enjoyed the sausage/bacon.
Since Yamadaya and Santouka are in San Diego as well, I’d recommend people visit those locations for a more legit ramen experience.

750 W Fir St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 269-4626

3-star

Asian Garden Night Market (Westminster, CA)

s5uzo7Craving South East Asian street food?  Look no farther than the Asian Garden Night market.
Night markets seem to be on the trend now a days and for good reason. (626, OC, Ktown night markets) Maybe it’s due to the increase of late at night munchies (thanks marijuana decriminalization) or the fact Asian countries have been doing this for centuries, regardless, it’s awesome to know I can get some balut at 10:00pm on a Sunday.

One thing to note, almost all of these “Night markets” have a shit load of generic food trucks.
Sorry, but in my opinion these have no place in an Asian night market.  Legit food vendors here, no bullshit Grilled Cheese trucks in sight. I prefer my food vendors to look like my elderly asian grandmother rather than some bearded hipster telling me about bulgogi.   Also, unlike the other night markets, I can try everything for under $25 and be out in an hour.  Small lines, no entrance or parking fee.
Please don’t fuck this up by crowding it up with all of your hipster friends.  If you can’t hang with Duck fetus’ and chicken guts, move along!

I had all kinds of shit to turn my ass into a volcano of devastation.
Crawfish, balut, avocado shake, bbq pork sticks, chicken hearts and liver were on the menu.  Don’t come too late, as they usually stop “cooking” food around 10-10:30.  Nothing worse than eating up reheated seafood 0_o
The Crawfish and balut were on point and delicious.  Would come back for those alone.  Open from Friday, Saturday & Sunday 7PM – 11PM.  June 19 – September 6, 2015.

9200 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683

4stars1