Sunday, February 8, 2009

Best Ramen in South Bay? @ Mama Ramen (Torrance)

I have done so many crawls lately, I think I needed to lose some weight and need to exercise more. I have already did a personal demon tour of frozen yogurt places. Did a tour of duty in dumpling places. Even tackled some of the Korean BBQ. With ramen, it's more of a pleasure than just a habit of visiting each and every different Ramen Ya.

As many times I have told Keizo of Go Ramen in that I was doing a ramen crawl based on the end of list he provided for the end of 2007. This place was a contender as the best ramen-ya for the South Bay area. I did like Gardena Ramen and Hakata Shin Sen Gumi as choices for possible contender to the mystical crown of best ramen in South Bay. In the end, I think Mama Ramen overtook them for that top spot for the throne.

Mama Ramen will have some stiff competition for business-wise as well because they are situated in the same big plaza as the recently opened Chabuya Noodle Bar ithat s located on the northwest end of the plaza. That ramen-ya is located to a very busy Pick-Up Stix.

When you entered the place, the restaurant was really small and very tight in terms of space confinement. If you need to move around the table, it can be a tight squeeze. (it's also a hint for the husky folks to go on a diet).

I was a little startled and perplexed when I saw the menu that included different noodles from other ethnic cuisines. I think they were trying to cover all base in case customer asked for other types of noodle dishes. It clearly reminded me of Noodle World in Alhambra for that same reason.

Onomichi Ramen (with chicken and fish soup broth)

Our host/waiter/possible manager? suggested to us to order a bowl of the Onomichi ramen. This bowl of ramen set up an interesting comparison. The broth on this soup is very unique as according to Rameniac, was a traditional Hiroshima flavor of a combination of light broth of chicken and fish. A half hard boiled egg and a dash of green radish sprouts encompass the soup along with egg floured noodle.

The Egg Noodle with Half boiled egg and slice of chasu pork

The best part of this entire bowl was definitely the soup. It was considered a Sappari (Japanese translation "light") broth that was very refreshing without being greasy or oily. Of course being a non-Orochon lover, it wasn't going to be spicy or ridiculous hot so that the flavor will stand out. The rich texture of the soup was smooth and easy to digest. It also come with a few slices of chasu (slices of pork) to go along with the noodle which was good, but not as outstanding as I would have liked.

There is the obligatory order of a deep fried dumplings (gyoza). I always ordered these dumplings as a complimentary item to any bowl of ramen. It was crispy and deep fried well enough. If you have to twist my arm, I think the gyoza was solid and worth it to be ordered.

Gyoza (Fried Dumplings)

I looked at the few other items on the menu. I was a little bit appreciated that I wound up with this bowl and not the others as Miso didn't quite grabbed me. Now that I understood in some of the other types of soup based and how I liked this bowl better after finally getting to taste it. This place also have plenty of fried noodles and rice dishes, but I think ramen (part of the name of the place) will hold its own against the other shops. Especially a new place opened up across the plaza.

The Onomichi bowl is definitely worth checking out as it is unique and did very well at this particular location. The only thing that wasn't on par was the noodle, but still matches much better than the over-appreciated Asa Ramen's noodle.

A small hidden hole in the wall place that is worthy of a ramen crawl. Just make sure you come here first before Chabuya. This place get my seal of approval for one of the top ramen-ya in South Bay.

Mama Ramen
24631 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 517-9099


Mama Ramen on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

There are so many good Japanese restaurants down in the Torrance area. I really need to start exploring that part of town! The ramen looks delicious!

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Pepsi Monster,

Nice review. :) I went to Shin Mama Ramen a while back. Definitely try their Tokyo Shinasoba the next time you go; it's very good and their special Chashu (Pork Belly style) is offered only with that dish.

Keizo Shimamoto said...

Wait, you didn't try their best-selling chicken teriyaki ramen?? haha..jk! Great review! I'm glad my list was able to be your guide. But next time I better at least get an invitation..hehe. I agree with EK that the Shinasoba is worth trying.

Unknown said...

my mama hates it when i eat ramen

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi Eileen,

Yes! You are missing out on some great dining down in South Bay. Indian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and some fine seafood down here. Please do come here and tell me all about it!

Hi Exile Kiss,

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitely keep in this mind next time when I come back and try a different ramen. Didn't know about the special chasu. That is good to know. Thanks!

Hi Keizo,

Dude, I almost gagged when I saw some of the stuff at the menu. Chow Mein even! LOL Hey, we got to hit up Daikokuya. That probably will be my next ramen visit. When does it open? Do you know? Let's hit that thing!

Hi Susy,

C'mon, your mama will love it. Unless she's jealous that you're eating someone else's ramen. :P

Unknown said...

How is it possible after 2+ years of living in Torrance, I've never tried out this place before?

I'd say though, I think Asa has gotten better least in my last visit.

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey Danny,

You are missing out if you think Asa is the only ramen in town. You got to explore more. LOL