A passion for food + fashion

Lunch for $15 or Less: Daikokuya Ramen

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

The latest in my quest for lunch under $15 while I’m on jury duty downtown…


Until this afternoon, I would have told you without missing a beat that the best ramen I’ve ever had is at Momofuku in New York (made with Berkshire pork shoulder and belly, and a poached egg). I’m pretty sure Momofuku’s still rules the roost—it’s been a while since I’ve had it—but today I discovered a bowl of ramen in Little Tokyo that would give David Chang a serious run for his money. My friend Bryan (aka DJ Buttafuoco for all you downtown hipsters), who lives a few blocks from Daikokuya, gave me my marching orders, saying, “The Daikoku Ramen is what you’re there for. They make it ‘kotteri style’ if you ask, which is richer, thicker broth extracted from pork back fat. It might kill you, but it’s worth it.” 


Boy, he’s not kidding. The tonkotsu broth is made by boiling pork bones for a day, and then mixing with soy sauce—and, if you ask, the kotteri back fat. Ask. Then it’s loaded with tender kurobata pork belly, scallions, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and toasted sesame seeds. The soft-boiled egg is marinated overnight in soy sauce, and lordy, is it good. The bill, with a diet Coke, was a little over ten bucks before tip. I texted DJ Buttafuoco on my way back from lunch that I’d tried the ramen, to which he replied, “Now the real challenge begins: avoiding the noodle/pork fat coma for the rest of the afternoon.” I’m not sure I won that battle, but was sure glad for the brisk walk back from the restaurant to the courthouse, taking in the sights along the way. It was crazy windy—bad day to be wearing a skirt—but just gorgeous, gorgeous outside.




  1. Awesome, glad you could taste the magic. I considered dinner there yesterday, but there was a zero percent chance I would have made it through my DJ set after that powerful stew.

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