With over 50 years experience operating in an underground shopping center beneath a Tokyo station, Ramen Bangaichi opened their second US location in Culver City earlier this month. Although they specialize in Asahikawa-style ramen, their new location expands beyond noodles, to bento boxes as well.
There are 12 different ramens on the menu, including two cold ramen bowls, with a choice of three different soup bases – soy, miso or salt.
Vegan diners have a variety of options on hand – vegan ramen, cold vegan ramen, salads, grilled tofu entree/bento box or vegetable roll. The vegan ramen comes with tofu, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, carrots, leeks and green onions. The vegan miso broth is somewhat bland, so you may want to consider upgrading to the spicy miso broth for an additional $2.50.
Likewise, the miso broth in the regular ramen was not very flavorful either, though slightly more than the vegan broth, thanks to the pork. It came with thinly sliced pork char-siu, which were nicely done and not too fatty, bamboo shoots and scallions. The bowls come with a healthy portion of noodles.
How flavorless was the broth? My daughter said that she thought her glass of water had more taste than the miso broth – a slight exaggeration on her part. Usually vegan broth are bland, but not the pork one, so it’s a shame that it was somewhat lacking. It’s hard to believe that this is the same ramen broth served in the original Tokyo location. On the positive side, at least it wasn’t packed with salt/MSG, tempting us to guzzle down the soup. The spicy option probably would be the way to go, but it seems somewhat wrong to have to pay an extra $2.50 just to add some flavor to your bowl.
Taking over the former East Borough space, the restaurant is light and bright, with a small patio area, seemingly pretty family-friendly judging by the people dining there. At night, Ramen Bangaichi probably takes on a different tone, with a happy hour during the work week and a selection of aged whiskies. With so many ramen restaurants opening up, they’ll definitely have to improve their broth in order to compete. In the meantimeI’ll be getting my ramen fix elsewhere, sending my blood pressure sky high and clogging my arteries with pork fat.
Location – 9810 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City 90232. Additional LA location in Silver Lake.
Website – https://ramenbangaichi.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Friendly – No noodles, but they do have rice bowls.