DTLA: Shin-Sen-Gumi



A couple of weekends back, I met up with Corianda to discuss her thesis project. She was interviewing food writers and after circling back and forth on where I go, I impulsively named the new Shin-Sen-Gumi in Little Tokyo.


I have been to the SSG in Rosemead before but I still was confused by the DTLA one’s set-up. My previous bowls of ramen contained all the toppings. This location brought out the toppings in individual containers until our table looked like a Korean restaurant’s instead. All those little dishes reminded me of banchan.


crispy pig's ear

Of course it was my fault. I picked out a normal bowl of ramen (I selected “normal” across the board) and merrily filled out the sheet like it was a sushi ordering form.

bean sprouts


Next time, I’ll have to limit the amount of toppings I want. Maybe it’s like pizza- you shouldn’t have more than 3 toppings lest the darn thing is too muddy in flavors.

Hakata ramen- normal everything

You may select how firm the noodles are, amount of oil and soup strength- whatever that means. I would probably make my noodles firmer, less oil and keep the normal soup strength.

As for the toppings, I’d skip the egg, thick-cut pork belly and cooked bean sprouts.  I like eggs to be more marinated and SSG also offers the option for a fried egg. I’d try that next time. The thick-cut pork belly didn’t have much flavor and blech, cooked bean sprouts? I love crunchy raw sprouts. The seaweed, wood ear mushrooms, spinach and bamboo were fine. In fact, I’d probably just do the seaweed, bamboo and crispy pig’s ear. But I wouldn’t add in the pig’s ear until I want to eat it. After I put the ears in, they became soggy, defeating the purpose of having crispy pig’s ear.

I didn’t try the wontons and the although I like the idea of miso butter, the broth didn’t need it.

fully-decorated bowl of Hakata ramen

After all said and done, I didn’t enjoy this DIY bowl of noodles as much as my regular bowl of Daikokuya up the street.

I’d still go back but only if the Big D is busy…which of course, it always is.


Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi

132 S Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90013 – (213) 687-7108