Hello Rakkan Ramen Redondo Beach!

After visiting Tokyo late last year, I truly found an appreciation for all things “umami.” What exactly is umami you may ask? Umami is actually one of the five basic senses. The other four being sweet, sour, bitter and salty.  Rakkan Ramen is all about umami and offering dishes that are full of flavor. There’s five locations in Japan; four of which are in Tokyo. No need however to fly all the way to Tokyo however to get a taste of Rakkan Ramen because there are actually three locations in the USA and they are all in Southern California! The three locations are in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. The latest one to open is the one in Redondo Beach.

I recently had a chance to visit the Rakkan Ramen in Redondo Beach and my senses were instantly transported back to Tokyo.

My meal here first started off with their Rakkan Buns.

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There are three offerings of Rakkan Buns; pork, chicken and vegetable. My choice was the chicken buns. This starter indeed was a definition of sensory overload. Two steamed buns were filled with crispy chicken, milk, sesame, baby mix greens with teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise.  I loved the melt in your mouth softness of the steamed buns followed by the delightful crisp of the deep-fried chicken. A mix of the mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce was delightfulness to the palate.

After such a savory stater, next on the table was the star of the meal; the ramen. Here at Rakkan Ramen; they have four different types. Amber, Pearl, Garnet and Ruby. The ramen are just as special as the names of the gemstones they are named after.
Amber is their soy sauce ramen and their most popular at Rakkan. Pearl is the salt sauce ramen that uses specially selected Japanese salt and white soy sauce. lt is Rakkan Ramen’s “healthy” ramen. Garnet is the miso ramen that is well-known in Hokkaido. While ruby is the shrimp miso ramen made with shrimp paste and shrimp slowly boiled in olive oil to concentrate the umami flavor.
Upon my visit, I tried the Garnet ramen.

 

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The Garnet uses original blended miso and has vegetable broth, sesame paste, grilled pork, green onion, bamboo shoots and seasoned egg served with thin noodles. I instantly became a fan of the vegetable broth! I love that they used vegetable broth to help keep the dish healthy yet tasty. This in itself makes it a winner in my book. The seasoned egg along with the tender pork were superb. With an addition of their chili sesame oil; this ramen dish made for one hearty meal. The umami flavor was evident throughout the whole meal.

I am very happy to see Rakkan Ramen in Southern California. It’s a little taste of Tokyo here at home.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Rakkan Ramen Redondo Beach.

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Hello Kagura!

For this past Mother’s Day, I treated my mom to lunch at Kagura. Kagura is a little Japanese restaurant in Torrance. From the outside it looks like a little hole in the wall restaurant and inside it is not the fanciest of places. This should not deter one from going here because based off my experience, this place just maybe on the top of Japanese restaurants in the South Bay.

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The meals here start off with a refreshing warm cup of hot tea. Tea is free refills.

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Along with the tea, starters include a chawanmushi. Chawanmushi means steamed in a tea cup. It is a custard pudding dish from Japan. Here at Kagura, they serve it fresh and hot in a cute little cup. Their version is so soft and they have tender pieces of pork inside.

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The gozen lunch sets here include a sliced cabbage salad. This salad is also unlimited. It’s a very nice starter. The cabbage along with the dressing was light and not too heavy.

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After the sliced cabbage and egg pudding, the waitress presented us with a cup of sesame seeds with a wooden stick and tonkatsu sauce in a small pitcher. This is in preparation for the main meal. The wooden stick is to be used for grinding the sesame seeds. When you grind the seeds, it is supposed to release the aroma and flavor of the seeds. Then you mix in the tonkatsu sauce into the seeds. This part of the meal for me was a fun and interesting.

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For my main meal, I chose to get the Chicken Katsu Gozen.

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My mom chose to get the millefeuille katsu, deep fried pork loin cutlet and the kaki fri, deed fried oyster cutlets

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Both of our meals came with rice, pork miso soup, Japanese picked vegetables, 4 small plates consisting of pasta salad, radishes, tofu and seaweed.

I chose to get the mixed grain rice and it was a neat rice combo of brown rice and white rice. It was a food match to the katsu.

I was very fond of the pork miso soup. I loved the small tender pieces of pork and little veggies that could be found throughout the soup. The broth itself was warm and heartwarming. This soup was unlimited as well!

The main katsu was delicious! They were served hot and crispy. The outer katsu was fried to golden perfection. The chicken itself was lean and tender. I tried my mom’s pork katsu and though it was good, I preferred the chicken.

Both my mom and I really enjoyed the food here and I do know we will back. We are both very fond of Japanese cuisine and this place is a new favorite of ours!

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Kagura.