The Unvegan

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A Bowl of Awesome at Daikokuya

It's like the inside is outside.
It’s like the inside is outside.

In all my time living in LA I had one major failure. Well maybe more than one failure, but one of them is not making a trip to Daikokuya. Fortunately, that ramen spot set up an outpost over in Little Little Tokyo. It has a crazy wait, but when you step inside it feels like you’ve really stepped onto a street in Japan (as evidenced by that picture to the left inside the place).

Japanese for Real at Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi

Drunk or not, this looks awesome.

For too long have I been subjected to people who believe the beginning and end of Japanese food is sushi. While living in Japan for half of a year, I believe I ate sushi once. This was not because I was avoiding sushi, but because sushi just wasn’t as prevalent as we are led to believe. Sure, you can find sushi if you are looking, but it is not as though every corner has a sushi place. Rather, it is much more common to find ramen. This isn’t your Cup O Noodle college hangover ramen, but a real, hearty bowl of broth with noodles, meat and more. Recently, some coworkers of mine were heading out to “that ramen place” in Gardena for lunch and I joined them, fingers crossed that this place would be the true Japanese food I’ve been waiting for.

An Unfortunate Meal at Mr. Hana (CLOSED)

There is just too much green for one plate to take.
There is just too much green for one plate to take.

I had heard a lot about the Century City food court, which really surprised me considering most food courts I’ve been to don’t get any fancier than S’barro. As I was going there for a movie already, it was finally time to check out the food court.

I was actually very surprised with what I found. This was no ordinary food court with Panda Express and McDonald’s. Instead, it was filled with upscale places that made me feel like I entered an international marketplace with prepared foods. After a long walk around and a little sampling, I decided to order from Mr. Hana, a Japanese place. They had a great looking platter with spicy chicken, gyoza (dumplings), shrimp tempura and rice that I decided to get. It also came with mixed vegetables, which I was sure to order without. I also ordered a Japanese Melon Soda, which is one of the greatest drinks ever created. No, seriously, next time you see it, you must get it, you can thank me later.