Daikokuya – the Godfather of LA Ramen

20 Feb

This post is long overdue, and woefully incomplete. I lost my photos of most of my meal and haven’t replaced them yet. But the occasion of Daikokuya’s 11th anniversary necessitates a post of the place that inspired my, and most of LA’s, ramen awakening.

First a public service announcement: for the anniversary, Daikokuya is offering $5 bowls of ramen for 2/20-22. So if you value $3 more than an extra 30-60 minutes in line, hie thee to Daikokuya this week.

Lines of hipsters milling around 1st Street, faux-retro M.A.S.H.-era decor, and the sounds of slurping — it’s Daikokuya. I remember my first bowl — really my first bowl of real ramen — the shock of umami, the salty coating building up on my tongue, and the feeling of being totally stuffed but wanting another go.

Daikokuya has been ruling the LA ramen scene before there was a ramen scene. You had a hundred (maybe a thousand) bowls of instant ramen before, but having real tonkatsu broth and fresh noodles was a paradigm shift. Like only having Pizza Hut and then eating at Mozza.

Now after the last couple years’ flurry of ramen opening all over LA, Daikokuya remains serving to hordes of tourists, salarymen, and hipsters who still wait in line late into the night. Yes, it has been surpassed in quality and even porkiness (!), but Daikokuya is still worth a visit.


327 E. First St.,
Los Angeles, CA

3 Responses to “Daikokuya – the Godfather of LA Ramen”

  1. Alice @ Nom Nom Cat February 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    you braved the $5 promotion? i imagine the lines must’ve been even crazier than usual! question though — who in LA do you feel has higher quality and more porky tonkotsu ramen than Daikokuya?

    • fooddouche February 25, 2013 at 3:16 am #

      Tsujita on Sawtelle is the reigning champ.

      I’d also recommend Yamadaya and Men Oh. But really if you haven’t tried Tsujita yet, you should just put down whatever you’re eating now and go get in line. And remember, lunch only.

      • Alice @ Nom Nom Cat February 25, 2013 at 8:56 am #

        been meaning to check out tsujita and men oh. glad to hear they’re so well-recommended! went to yamadaya during soft opening and a few times after. it’s okay but the broth tends to be awkwardly cloying on my lips… too much collagen?

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