By Eric on 2006-12-19

Santouka originated in Asahigawa in Hokkaido and now they’ve landed in West LA in the Mitsuwa food court. What was once Tampopo ramen in the food court serving what was always maybe average ramen, it’s now the king of ramen in Los Angeles.

A small line formed at lunch time on an average tuesday. There’s not a lot of seats open, and the audience is mixed, some are Japanese, many aren’t, but you can tell a lot are food people checking the place out. There’s a bit of construction going on, but it’s not too annoying.

The glass case, shows the entire menu, there’s ramen, basically three types, salt, shoyu (soy sauce), and miso. The inside line from my friend in Japan is that the “shio” or salt ramen is the one to get. I opted for the regular shio with ikura over rice combo.

The ramen broth is a tonkotsu (pork) and shoyu broth mix. If you order shio ramen in another ramen joint, you might get something nearer to a clear based ramen, but shio here means it’s salted tonkotsu-shoyu ramen. The bowls are actually small, so if you opt for just ramen, you might end up a bit disappointed. If you’re a ramen eater, get the large. If you’re getting a combo, perhaps stick with regular. The ikura bowl was fair, in the end, it’s sort of like filler, you’re getting rice and fish eggs, and neither are spectacular, but Santouka is famous for it’s ramen. The shio ramen was again, smaller in size, but hearty in flavor. The whitish broth has a savory flavor that’s filled with the familiar tonkotsu style pork broth you’d fine in ramen from Kyushu. It’s oils mixed with it’s long boiled broth make it exciting and satisfying. The noodles aren’t anything new, they’re decent, and the small fixin’s inside are fine with the pork standing out. It even comes with a mini umeboshi.

The plastic food versions actually look decent, although there was less ikura than the plastic example showed. The hardboiled egg was actually surprising since it’s been soaking in a soup base. My combo was $10.49. If you decide to get just ramen, for the shio small it’s 5.49, medium 6.49, and large 7.49. You can always get extra pork, and that’s good too. The hot miso ramen seemed least appetizing, and I probably won’t be getting that until I’ve tried everything else.

Take a look at the ramen. These are plastic. Click on it and zoom in and you can see what’s written here.

Santouka Ramen
3760 Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
10:00am – 8:00pm
(310) 915-0442

The Other Address!
21515 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 212-1101