Hakata Ikkousha of Costa Mesa has opened a new branch in Torrance that dishes out steaming bowls of their award winning ramen. Already a hit in the new location, we arrived shortly before closing to a full house.
Their pork rich soup is a combination of broth enhanced by bones simmered for at least half a day, chewy noodles cooked to customers specifications, marinated pork slices and a blend of soy sauce, 20 seasonings and 5 types of rare seafood from Japan.
The tiny, flavor packed, juicy dumplings come with a small dollop of chili paste that can be smeared on, with or without dipping into the gyoza sauce found on the table.
Crisp-skinned fried chicken pieces encase moist meat that can be enhanced by the seasoning salt served alongside.
We were excited to get to the main attraction, with a variety of ramen bowls calling to us.
We like intense flavors and were immediately drawn to the tonkotsu black, a creamy pork soup made with mild garlic oil, noodles, homemade charshu (marinated braised pork belly), wood ear mushrooms and green onion. The broth has a mild garlic flavor, which we kicked up a notch with a ball of spicy paste available upon request.
Each ramen listed has its high points. The Spicy tonkotsu mentaiko is unique to this ramen shop, the tonkotsu shio is light and clean, enlivened with black pepper in a fish broth while the tonokotsu original is their signature bowl.
We couldn’t resist the God fire, delivered at levels of spiciness from 1 to 4. We chose 2, which has a nice mellow heat plus tender fatty slices of pork belly, green onion, wood ear mushrooms and we ordered our noodles medium, versus hard or soft.
One of the best parts of the dining experience at Hakata Ikkousha Ramen is the assortment of condiments on the table. We needed instruction on how to use the sesame seed dispenser but got the hang of turning the knob while holding the bottle over our bowl which grinds and dispenses the tiny crushed seeds.
Our favorite condiment is the pickled spicy greens that can be eaten straight or added to the soup for extra heat and flavor.
We throw the pungent ginger slivers into our bowl by the heapful, for a clean tang to balance out the fat in the broth.
For a light, well seasoned version of ramen served with an assortment of Japanese condiments, Hakata Ikkousha Ramen brings it all, making us feel like we are in a small shop in Japan.
Hakata Ikkousha Ramen, 21605 South Western Avenue, Suite J, Torrance, CA 90501 Phone – 424-558-3953
Hakata Ikkousha, 3033 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone – 714-540-2066