Paul was nice enough to drop me off in South El Monte so I could pick up my baby (my car, that is) from the auto shop. I decided to treat him to lunch beforehand to show my gratitude. He was in the mood for ramen, so the most logical choices in the SGV were Shin-Sen-Gumi and Daikokuya, the latter of which we chose. I remember going to the Little Tokyo location a long time ago, and found the ramen to be good, but a little overrated given the restaurant’s crazy popularity. This Monterey Park might not be the main location, but I figured it was a good chance for me to possibly change my mind.
Gyoza ($5.95) – pan-fried pork dumpling
Started with an order of the famous gyoza, which are pork and vegetable. A ponzu sauce came on the side. I thought that these were pretty good, but the filling wasn’t really juicy and I prefer the skin of Chinese potstickers to these thin wrappers.
This was a very big bowl. Very filling. But nowhere near Santouka’s level. However, Paul argued that while he shared my sentiments, it wasn’t really fair to compare the two since we didn’t order the ramen kotteri (extra pork back fat). The broth in the regular version, while milky and thick, was ultimately a little on the milder side in terms of flavor. The chashu was really good though, and the marinated egg tasted great (but the center was a bit cold).
Again, it’s unfair to fully access the quality of Daikokuya’s ramen without ordering it kotteri (and possibly needing to go to the Little Tokyo location), but the ramen at the Monterey Park location was good. The ingredients in the ramen were really good, and the big bowl was extremely filling. And luckily, we waiting all of five seconds to be seated, as opposed to possibly over half an hour at the Little Tokyo location. So if you want a (possibly) lesser version of Daikokuya’s ramen without the hassles, then come on down to the Monterey Park location. Should be pretty satisfying.
Chris Hei grade: B
111 N Atlantic Blvd, Ste 241
Monterey Park, CA 91754