Chinatown: Getting Down with the Ramen Champ
Eggslut‘s Alvin Cailan opened Ramen Champ with partners Johnny Lee (Eggslut) and Nathan Asamoto (formerly of Men Oh Ramen) a few weeks ago in Chinatown Los Angeles. At the Far East Plaza, foodies can be found at Chego, Pok Pok Phat Thai, Scoops and now Ramen Champ. But I would urge you to not miss out on the great grub at Fortune Chinese and Kim Chuy. This could be the greatest food crawl ever if you did it all (dare I try?).
I’ve been to Ramen Champ a few times now. I figure if I go one more time, I would have tried the entire menu. Alvin did say though he and Johnny were working on plenty of specials. I was interested in a seafood-based ramen and he said that’s coming. In the meantime, I satisfied my seafood obsession with tako tots. These were perfect potato fritters stuffed with a bit of octopus and salted cod. It was like a brandade and shepard’s pie mash up. Or maybe a Japanese version of a Cuban potato ball.
We also really enjoyed the mushroom appetizer that’s made with seasonal mushrooms. Currently it’s a beautiful bunch of hon shimeji mushrooms and nicknamed the awesome blossom. Vegetarians have a great meal here if they stuck with the mushroom app, veggie curry or the veggie ramen (that’s even vegan!).
Los Angeles ramen heads are obsessed with tonkotosu. I’m no different. This was one of the most perfectly creamy broths I’ve had. Some ramen-yas gross me out with blobs of fatty bits floating about but Ramen Champ’s is extremely smooth. The chasu is definitely some of the best pork I’ve had in ramen and it had the most beautiful egg with a softly-cooked yolk.
Yet, I was more obsessed with the chicken shio. Yes, it’s a chicken noodle soup of my dreams with bold, clean chicken-y taste! The first time I had it, there was an elusive spice that Alvin thought I might have picked up from the dressed green onions. I know I wanted more of it so two days later I got another bowl. It didn’t quite have that note but I was still pretty happy with it. I even ate the carrots which is normally my vegetable-nemesis.
One of my favorite things is fried chicken. I particularly enjoy the Japanese karaage. Ramen Champ does these great cubed chicken pieces that have an even batter.
I’m looking forward to the Eggslut/ Ramen Champ team opening a dinner in Chinatown. And a little birdie dropped hints of bars opening as well. Cocktails and food? I’m in!