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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Asa Ramen in Gardena: Give This Anemic Broth Some Steroids!

I had tried to sample the much talked about Asa Ramen for years now but it was always closed for lunch on weekends. Or more accurately, it only opened from 6pm-2am so had given up trying. Going to have ramen for dinner in South Bay that's farther from where I live turned out to be harder than I thought. 

I finally tried it and now that I made time to go for dinner, it is open for lunch too. Go figure. I know I am rather late in the game -- it opened at least five years ago -- the verdict is a resounding thumbs down.

The kotteri shoyu tonkotsu broth was so weak I thought I was having instant ramen. Ok, that's a stretch. But doesn't kotteri mean thick in Japanese? Come on. Where's the milky, industrial strength pork broth that makes ramen so incredibly comforting and satisfying?

The broth wasn't horrible. It just wasn't thick enough. Was I supposed to order the extra topping of butter/pork fat, which actually exists on the menu?

The char siu slices were solid. I'll give them that. And the noodles were cooked al dente, just the way I like them. But that's where the good ends. It was respectable but merely above average and most definitely below Shinsengumi, the reigning ramen joint in LA for me, followed by Santouka.

The gyoza, another litmus test I like to do when I go to a ramen joint, was just as disappointing. The filling smelled too porky and not in a good way. They were piping hot, fresh off the pan, which I liked, but what use is it if the experience is botched as soon as you bite into the dumpling? Sad.

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