Los Angeles, CA

The Art of Ramen Endures at Shin-Sen-Gumi

J.M. Lesinski

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One of the best ramen shops in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen, has been powering through the COVID-19 pandemic and still serving up some of the area’s best hot soup dishes.

Any diner visiting for the first time is strongly encouraged to try the namesake ramen of the restaurant, or any one of the incredible ramen dishes. Call it tradition or protocol, ramen is the way to go if one has never been to Shin-Sen-Gumi before.

There are seven main ramen dishes on the menu at Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Hakata Ramen shoppe. The Hakata Ramen is the flagship dish, a pork-flavored ramen with Chashu pork, green onion, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds, then wheat, soy, and egg on top. The broth is incredibly developed and just a little sweet, making it attractive to those who do not normally eat ramen and delectable to ramen-centric foodies.

The Curry Tonkotsu features the signature Hakata ramen, as well as soft flavored egg and corn. The curry flavor comes through without bearing too heavily on the broth. Fans of spice will most definitely appreciate this dish, though fans of heat will likely prefer on of the other ramen options.

The Hakata SP Ramen features the same components as the flagship, with the addition of kikurage mushroom and soft flavored egg. The mushroom and egg addition adds a new breadth of texture to the already epic flavor profile.

The Miso Tonkotsu Ramen again features the Hakata ramen base with corn and wakame seaweed. The relatively strong flavor of the wakame is subdued nicely by the broth, making the nutrient healthy plant that much easier to include in one’s diet.

A personal favorite, the Roasted Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen, embodies a pungently sweet, garlic lover’s dream ramen. The Hakata ramen base is additionally flavored with roasted garlic, kikurage mushroom, and soft flavored egg. The zing at the end of each sip simply delights the taste buds.

The Spicy Dandan Men is the first of the menu’s two spicy ramen options. Boasting a spicy, rich sesame miso base, wheat, egg, soy, and Tonkotsu ramen, the Dandan Men has a very earthy taste complemented nicely by the boldness of the spice.

The Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen rounds out the ramen menu. Featuring the signature Hakata ramen at the base with a spicy additional flavoring, bean sprouts, and soft flavored egg, the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen is not short on flavor and heartiness.

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Aside from the seven key ramens, a seemingly infinite number of additional toppings are available to add in, as well as some combination ramen plates that feature some of the most inventive house toppings.

The Crimson Phoenix, for example, features the Hakata ramen and comes with Diablo – a wheat, soy, and Carolina Reaper flavoring addition – as well as the Fire Cracker addition with wheat, soy, milk, fish, and shellfish, and RGB, otherwise known as a roasted garlic bomb.

The Hakata Experience is one of the more well-known additions. The standard Hakata ramen base gets a Spicy Takana (wheat, soy, and heat) addition, bamboo, and kikurage mushrooms to bring the spice more commonly associated with hot ramen and more traditional toppings to the forefront.

The OVERLOAD again features the Hakata ramen with an abundance of savory toppings as the name implies. With a pork cutlet, pork belly, and a spare rib on top, this ramen combination is one that is sure to fill one up.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen even does a breakfast combination ramen. The Spicy Breakfast features Hakata ramen, crispy bacon, spicy miso, and a flavored egg to round out the most important meal of the day-inspired dish.

The Veggie Lovers combination ramen also offers a delicious vegan-friendly dish. Featuring Hakata ramen, kikurage mushrooms, spinach, and wakame seaweed (though not technically vegetarian, still widely vegan-safe), the flavorful bowl is quite popular.

Rice bowls and curry rice make excellent dishes on their own, or as sides for any of Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen’s amazing ramen options. The Beef Rice Bowl comes in a mild sweet and red ginger sauce, while the Pork Cutlet Bowl features shredded cabbage over rice alongside the pork. The Soboro Bowl comes with minced chicken, shredded seaweed, and a Japanese thin omelet, while the Spicy Chashu Bowl comes with crumbled pork, green onion, and spicy takana ra-yu.

The SSG Curry Rice is the original house recipe curry sauce featured in most curry rice dishes, as well as the namesake curry dish. The Beef and Onion Curry Rice features the SSG curry sauce alongside simmered beef and onion, while the Fried Shrimp Curry Rice features the SSG alongside fried shrimp.

The Karaage Curry Rice features the SSG curry rice with chicken karaage, while the Karaage Bowl offers the same over rice with shredded cabbage, mayo, and red ginger. The DX Curry Rice features the SSG curry rice, fried shrimp, Takoyaki, and chicken karaage for a unique mixing of flavors.

When it comes to gyoza, the Hakata Gyoza, Tonsho Gyoza, or Veggie Gyoza are all amazing little flavor pods featured at Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen. Some other amazing sides include the cheese eggrolls, edamame, Takoyaki, Takana fried rice, and Spamu Musubi, a slice of grilled spam between two blocks of white rice and wrapped together in nori seaweed.

A number of amazing fried dishes round out the menu at Shin-Sen-Gumi. The Creamy Croquette features crab meat amid a creamy soy and milk filling, while the Geso Kara, or deep-fried squid legs, offer another unique seafood creation. Softshell Crab is also available deep-fried with ponzu sauce and green onion, while Tako Kara offers up a crunchy, deep-fried octopus to diners, and Ebi Fry presents a Japanese-style deep-friend shrimp featuring tartar sauce,

The Curry Chicken comes deep-fried and spiced with curry powder, while the Goma Chicken also comes deep-fried with a house special sesame sauce. The Jido Kara offers free-range chicken, deep-fried and SSG seasoned with mayo, while the Nan Kara, or deep-fried chicken cartilage, also offers diners a taste of chicken they may not have yet experienced.

One chicken dish that is an absolute must-try is the Yuzu-Pepper Chicken. Deep-fried and covered in yuzu citrus chili pepper sauce, the crispy chicken treat is a viable feast for the taste buds. Shin-Sen-Gumi also does French fries, fried green beans, and fried oysters to round out one of the most innovative fried menus in Los Angeles.

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Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY
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