Food of the World in Los Angeles: Tokushima, Japan

 

Ramen is often thought of as a quick, cheep food eaten by college students on a budget. But in Japan, where Ramen originated, it’s a complex and delicious dish served in an almost infinite amount of styles.

For a quick lunch I stopped into a Ramen Shop in Little Tokyo, near downtown LA. It’s a great neighborhood to visit for people watching, shopping, and of course eating. There are bakeries and grocery stores, as well as (non-touristy) gift shops and public spaces.

Little Tokyo in Los Angeles

I had a bowl of Tokushima Ramen at Men Oh, a small clean restaurant in a nondescript shopping center. Much like I noticed while traveling in Japan a few years ago, the exterior of the restaurant was dark, plain, and almost uninviting, however the interior was bright and welcoming.

Men Oh Front

Service was fast, and the noodles were warm, hearty and delicious. It wasn’t too salty, and you could customize the style with extras like scallions, chili pepper flakes and more.

Men Oh Interior Men Oh Menu Men Oh Ramen

 

I’m sure there are many other styles of Ramen to find in LA, but Men Oh probably had the best bowl I’ve eaten so far.

For more Food of the World in Los Angeles, check out my posts on LA restaurants serving the food of South AfricaCanada, ShanghaiVietnamEthiopiaSingaporeAustralia and Guangdong.

Food of The World in Los Angeles: Vietnam

“The Food of The World of Los Angeles.” is a series of posts intended to identify, discover, enjoy and share unique foods which originate from various places around the world.

 I got a recommendation from my barber (who moved to the US in 1993 from Vietnam) for a good place to grab a Bánh mì, or Vietnamese style sandwich.

Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho ExteriorAnd when I say sandwich, I mean SANDWICH.

Fresh baguette bread (leftover influence from when the French colonized Vietnam), jalapenos, pickled carrots and radish, cucumber and fresh cilantro and your choice of meat or filling.

Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho Interior

Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho is really more of a takeout counter / store than a restaurant, I didn’t see any seating, but the place was very busy with customers. Along with the sandwiches made fresh to order, they also have lots of other vietnamese food which I couldn’t even attempt to identify, but which looked very interesting.

Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho MenuPer the recommendation, I went for a Number 8, the Charbroiled Pork Sandwich.

Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho Number 8

Well bah ME this thing is tasty! Crisp, warm bread, fresh veggies and a healthy heap of flavorful and juicy minced pork, all for under three bucks, you really can’t beat that. You could try, but trust me, you can’t. I’ve heard good things about their meatballs too, and I’d love to go back and try some egg rolls, which are sold from a case near the counter for fifty cents each.

For more info checkout Bánh Mì Mỹ-Tho’s website or their page on Yelp.

The Food of The World in Los Angeles: First stop Shanghai…

Tonight I’m starting a new theme of posts “The Food of The World of Los Angeles.”

It’s my goal to identify, discover, enjoy and share unique foods which originate from various places around the world.

It’s an amazing time we live in, one where the globe has never felt smaller and America has never felt more diverse. While I might not be able to travel to all the places I’d like to see in my lifetime, through this project I hope to open up to new experiences and flavors and to take advantage of living in this huge, international city.

First up is Emperor Noodles in San Gabriel for some Shanghai style buns.

Emperor Noodles ExteriorI first heard of this place through an LA Weekly article about Shen Jian Baos, or Pan-Fried Buns.

Since I basically fell in love with Baos on a trip to Japan a few years ago, I knew I had to check out the pan-fried version since pretty much everything is better fried up to a crispy golden brown.

Emperor Noodles InteriorThe restaurant itself was decorated with all types of red furniture and decor, the cliental seemed to all be speaking in another language I assume to be Chinese, and the waitress was very helpful in taking my order, despite a pretty significant language barrier between us.

Emperor Noodles MenuIt took about 5 minutes before my 4pc Pan Fried Pork Buns were ready to go, and I couldn’t wait to try them, despite their molten-hot interiors.

Emperor Noodles Pan Fried Pork BunAs you can see they are comprised of a white, fluffy dough toped with black sesame seeds that’s been seared slightly on the bottom with white sesame seeds.  Each one was about the size of a peach, the outside soft and the bottom  just barely crisp, creating good contrast of texture and flavor. Inside was a savory pork filling along with some very tasty (and very hot) liquid.  I’ve had a fair amount of baos over the past few years, but these stand out because of their unique flavor and presentation.  I was tempted to eat all four, but I resisted and the urge after two and saved the other two for some friends.

Overall? Good food, good price, pretty convenient location for me, so I’ll likely be back for more Shen Jian Baos or for some of the delicious looking soup the rest of the customers were enjoying.

For more info, check out Emperor Noodle on Yelp.