I’ve passed by Daikokuya many times while winding my way to other food adventures through Little Tokyo. Every time I’ve noticed it, there was a curiously large crowd waiting outside. Could anything really be worth waiting behind that many fellow ramen seekers? My curiosity was piqued…but I didn’t want to be part of the hangry mob so I strategically dropped by on a Tuesday around six to finally try a bowl of Daikokuya’s ramen.
I only had to wait about twenty minutes for a booth so the plan worked (there’s a bar too for quicker seating). Just past the yellow doorway curtains, you’ll encounter a sign in sheet (do not hesitate) and servers hustling. On either side of the front door are chairs, gigantic paper lamps and a Godzilla toy perched above the doorway. Eight booths, a dozen ‘cash only’ signs, vintagey Japanese posters and music draw you into into this dreamy little realm where waiting for hot soup on a summer day somehow makes sense…
All four dishes arrived within ten minutes. Gyoza? Good. Spicy Miso? Good. Fried Rice? Ahhhmazing! Daikokuya bowl? Ramen noodles in savory broth topped off with a soft boiled brown egg, slices of pork belly, bamboo shoots and a confetti of sliced green onions. Comfort food with a dazzling twist. What they say must be true, the best things in life are cash only. Daikokuya, you were worth the wait. (Also, may it be noted I went back the following Saturday.)
Where should I eat next? Tell me where to treat myself on Twitter @aprilcarpena #HappeningInDTLA!