Ramen Bowls Aplenty

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Ramen is having its day all over Los Angeles and we feel obliged to try them all.  Last night we hit Slurpin’ Ramen Bar, in the hopes of cozying up on a chilly night with warm bowls of noodle soup.

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The modern space is centrally located in Koreatown and there is a bit of Korean spin to the menu.

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One of the Korean adaptations is the bulgogi egg roll, which is stuffed with thin seasoned slices of beef, fried, split in half and topped with nacho cheese sauce and jalapeño slices. We placed the order because it was such an unusual appetizer, and were pleasantly surprised to find the tender and flavorful meat a playful match to the liquid cheese and spicy pepper, reminiscent of an Asian cheeseburger.

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We then moved on to the main attraction, with options including the original slurpin’ ramen, vegan ramen, dipping ramen (soup served in a separate bowl) and a chashu bowl (pork over rice) all available to us.

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We went with the super spicy slurpin’ ramen and found the small bowl plenty big and the regular great for big appetites. The creamy, pork bone based broth has been slow simmered to garner all the richness this soup commands. The description, super spicy, is inaccurate and is instead a mild heat.

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A big part of the ramen fun is the toppings and although they charge for every one, we had a blast checking them out and chose a few that we easily shared in two bowls of soup.

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From the top 5 toppings list on the wall, we found the spicy umami oil gracefullly smoothed out the ramen and made it sing. This spicy mix also added a great kick to the bulgogi egg roll.  We basically love the spicy umami oil on everything.

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The crunchy garlic and onion added a dilemma regarding how to consume it.  Should it be added to the soup where it would get soggy or consume it straight from its little saucer following each bite of soup to be savored at its crispy best?  Ultimately we did a bit of both.

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The exceptionally well cooked noodles were an easy choice and two of us were able to shared the extra noodles easily from the substantial sized serving.

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The soup includes a choice of chashu or super tender fatty pork which melts away on the tongue like a dream.

We find Slurpin’ Ramen Bar to be a respectable contender in the ramen landscape that is ever expanding in Los Angeles and beyond. We look forward to more warm bowls of noodle soup which seem to be growing at a delicious rate.

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Slurpin’ Ramen Bar, 3500 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone – 213-388-8607

Killer Salad

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We love unique, healthy salads and are always on the prowl for tantalizing ways to consume more veggies. Singapore’s Banana Leaf, located along the south corridor, inside the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax, has crafted a winner with their Rojak. The description, “fresh vegetarian salad” stops way short of describing this produce laden wonder.

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What they are actually offering is a spectacular, lightened version of this eclectic mixed fruit and vegetable salad that outshines all the rojak we ate in Singapore. Crunchy hunks of jicama and green apple dance with freshly cut pineapple and cucumber. Vibrant spinach leaves, bean sprouts and abundantly spongy fried tofu round out the garden splendor. The unifying factor is the chopped peanut heavy dressing that makes this one of the most refreshing and satisfying salads we’ve encountered. The secret family recipe dressing is perfection personified in its slightly sweet, sour, spicy, savory, complexly textured mash-up. The sturdy salad withstands a to go box easily and is just as wonderful the next day. Rojak calls to us on most sunny, southern California days. The rest of the menu is a tribute to the traditional flavors of Singapore and Malaysia and whatever we choose always makes us smile.

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After lunch or dinner, cruise the Farmers Market and be sure to try a Manhattan Special Espresso Coffee Soda from The Refresher, located on the market’s north corridor, for a jolt of carbonated, coffee flavor that satisfies both a sweet tooth and a coffee craving.

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We are always ready for mother nature to bring on the warm weather, because the Original Farmers Market is the ideal spot to savor Singaporean food in Southern California’s abundant sunshine.

Singapore’s Banana Leaf, 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Refresher6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036