Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi
My noodles partner-in-crime have been hitting up local Thai noodle shops in search of the best bowl of Thai boat noodles the last few months in Thai Town. Our favorite is Sapp Coffee Shop. Previously, we tackled finding the best pho shop along Garvey Avenue in South El Monte. Our favorite is Pho Minh.
Last night, we decided to start our ramen adventures at Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi. Joining us on this leg of the journey were the Uncouth Gourmand girls and a friend.
Because there were five of us, we ordered a slew of appetizers.
I always get gyoza at Japanese places even though I was warned these would be crappy, I still got them. My noodles partner was right, they were indeed crappy but I think I still ate about half of them! At $5.15 for a full order (or $3 for half), it was a natural to get them. They are very tiny and perhaps the dozen should have been remade to be bigger, juicier dumplings.
I love pork belly. I love kimchi. I was pretty insistent we get this. Oh, it was love in a bowl.
I wasn’t too into these. I thought the cheese was a bit stringy but fried cheese! Where’s the beer or sake?
Josie of the UGs wanted fried chicken and our waiter talked us into getting it with the sweet and sour sauce. We weren’t going to get them because we (or I) ordered the asparagus, bacon and corn sauteed in butter (not shown). However, we did and the waiter was right. It was very good. They are however, large pieces so you may want to get a knife if you want to split.
Then our ramens hit the table along with a ground chicken bowl.
I had a bite, it was well, ground chicken atop a bowl of rice. It did come with miso soup (not shown). The guy who ordered it said it was good but he didn’t seem satisfied so he ordered another two appetizers.
I tried half of one with Josie and besides the sauce couldn’t determine anything beyond a fluffy texture and it was of a vegetable nature. I know, I was being terrible because I was trying to slog my way through my huge bowl of ramen at this point.
These onigiri were the most interesting I’ve seen. Possibly because they weren’t stark white with a filling. In fact, these look more Chinese to me, like they could have been wrapped up in lotus leaves and served at dim sum. I didn’t try these but before I could blink, they were gone.
Josie ordered the yakisoba. I was surprised by the scoop of mayo on the plate but was told this is very traditional Japanese. Traditional mayo condiment? Okay.
Carina’s bowl of ramen with extram bamboo.
I was secretly glad I didn’t get my ramen with the flavored egg looking at how overcooked the hardboiled egg was. My noodles partner also got spicy miso to go with it which she added in later. She loves SSG and says she likes it better than Daikokuya. At SSG, they allow you to add extra noodles for an additional $.95 cents. She told me she’s added three extra orders before but last night she only got one extra order. She’s more of a noodles whore than me!
When my noodles partner told me there was some pork, I decided to get more because I love pork. Well, it was a bad decision because it ended up being too much pork (or possibly because I just ate 5 appetizers).
At SSG, you’re allowed to pick the texture of your noodles, how oily your broth and how thick your broth. I went with medium firmness, light oil and thick broth and added pickled leafy greens, bamboo, spinach and yeah, that extra pork.
Prior to actually getting my bowl, I was grumbling how you get a lot of this stuff (bamboo, pickles, seaweed, etc) in your bowl already at Daikokuya. But after seeing my bowl, I realized it was worth the extra buck for huge helpings of bamboo or spinach. I loved those leafy greens! Great flavor. I would order this exact same bowl, skip the extra pork and maybe add in bean sprouts.
I would also get my noodles firmer. I didn’t realize these noodles were the thin sort.
I didn’t doctor this bowl other than adding sesame seeds and dribbling my leftover sauce concoction I had put together for my gyoza into the bowl. Sometimes I like a little vinegar kick to the broth.
We finished our meals clutching our stomachs and wondering what the hell were we thinking eating so much. Ah, the life of a foodie.
Read the UncouthGourmand’s take on the night here.
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