If you’re looking for good ramen in Los Angeles, you’ll often be referred to Daikokuya or Santouka. Both are Japanese chains but Santouka is located in a food court in the Mitsuwa Japanese market in West LA and Costa Mesa and Daikokuya is a stand alone shop. But don’t let the location of Santouka fool you because at lunch, people line up in the food court for over an hour for their noodles… like me.
My mom thought I was crazy when I told her I was craving Santouka when I was in Costa Mesa with her. She doesn’t believe in waiting long for food – especially ramen. She doubted that any ramen was worth an hour wait. I talked her into it and she begrudgingly agreed to wait with me. We each ordered the Salt Ramen – probably the most popular dish on their menu. I like how you can order the ramen in three different sizes. Here’s my medium sized bowl.
The broth isn’t as thick as Daikokuya. Santouka’s broth has a more clean salt flavor but don’t get the wrong idea – this ramen has it’s share of pork fat. The pork that’s served with the ramen is super fatty, tender, and delicious. Also, the texture of the noodles at Santouka is spot on. If you’re in West LA or Costa Mesa, this ramen place should be at the top of your list to try. Apparently, the hype was right.
By the way, my mom took one slurp and looked at me and said she now understood why people waited in line.
Note: Santouka is cash only.