Koreatown has some of the best food in Los Angeles – bulgogi, soondubu, bibimbap, galbi jjim and ramen. What, ramen? Yes, even though it’s Koreatown, they’ve got some solid ramen joints like Slurpin’ Ramen Bar that hold up against the likes of those on Sawtelle and Little Tokyo.
Set in the bottom of a mini mall off Western, Slurpin’ Ramen Bar may not look like much from the outside, but once you step in, you’ll be welcomed by a stylishly modern interior, dominated by long communal tables.
Your ramen choices are limited – you can order the Slurpin’ Ramen, a tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen, the Veggie Ramen (vegan noodles and assorted veggies) or the Tsukemen (dipping ramen). At lunchtime, they also offer a lunch combo. With any ramen order, you can add on one of their many appetizers and a salad for only $3.
I’m not a salad person, but the House Salad was a nice offering of fresh greens to help counter balance the fatty tonkotsu broth to come.
More exciting were the appetizers. With choices like soft shell crab, bulgogi egg rolls and fried baby octopus, it made choosing difficult. I finally landed on the sesame chicken because I knew it was one of the few things I could share with my daughter. It was a good choice, not greasy, each bite perfect for dipping in one or both of the sauces that came on the side. In retrospect, I could have had a fried food fest and ordered only appetizers and been very, very happy.
The Slurpin’ Ramen comes in two sizes – small and regular (12 oz. vs. 16 oz.) – and a customizable spice level. A “0” is not spicy, with a “3” clocking in at super spicy. You choose your meat – like fatty pork or chashu to the healthier chicken breast or tofu. The ramen is topped with green onions, garlic, black garlic oil and seaweed.
My very picky ramen-obsessed daughter chose the non-spicy level with chashu and was delighted to find that this ramen lived up to her high standards. She gobbled it down, fishing for every last piece of ramen.
I went for the Mild spice level “1” with fatty pork and was shocked to find that it was SPICY. I made good use of the pitcher of water that they had given us. Even though my mouth and throat burned, the broth was flavorful (love the unique taste the the black garlic oil imparted) and was probably just the right amount of heat. I’d gladly subject myself to it again. The fatty pork turned out to be huge hunks of meat with a layer of fat. I tried to avoid eating the fat, but failed. Those watching their fat intake would be better off with the chicken or, better yet, tofu as their protein.
Now that we’ve finally discovered Slurpin’ Ramen Bar, I regret all the time spent eating under the florescent lights in the Koreatown Plaza food court, after the many trips to Music Plaza for the latest KPOP releases. If you’re in Koreatown and are craving noods (or a bunch of deep-fried food), give Slurpin’ Ramen a try.
Location – 3500 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Website – https://slurpinramenla.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes, they have rice bowls.