Mogu Mogu proves that ramen doesn’t need soup to be delicious. Mazemen, a brothless ramen, is the specialty of this newly opened restaurant, where presentation is a key part of the experience and photos are encouraged.
Mogu Mogu replaces Dosanko (which replaced Ramenya) on Olympic Blvd, a few blocks away from Sawtelle. The restaurant is small and simply decorated – a mural with instructions on how to enjoy your mazemen is painted on one side and a wall shelf with a few framed photos and a vase flowers on the other.
There are several variations of mazemen that you can order, including a cheese and a curry version. I ordered the Tokyo Mazemen – spicy minced pork, scallions, chives, seaweed, garlic and fish powder, topped with a fragile soft-cooked egg.
Once your photos are taken, you mix the entire lot together, breaking the egg yolk, which helps create a luscious coating over the noodles. It tasted fantastic, aided in no small part by that fish powder, which gave it a nice flavor against the spiciness of the pork. There’s some umami vinegar on the table that you can add to your thick curly noodles to give it a different flavor profile.
For vegetarians, there’s a Veggie Miso Mazemen, with spicy miso, tofu, kale, corn, red onion, bell peppers and lotus root. As fas as veggie ramens go, this was one of the best I’ve had, especially since the spicy miso had quite a kick, making it spicier than the Tokyo Mazemen.
If you prefer having your ramen in broth (which is all my daughter ever wants to eat), there’s a couple of pork soup-based ramens – a tonkotsu and a spicy miso.
The Assari Tonkotsu came with pork chashu, wild ear mushrooms, scallions, seaweed and soft boiled egg.
The broth was notably lighter (less pork fat) than the typical tonkotsu broth, so it wasn’t quite as flavorful, though much healthier. The pork chashu was good, and even though the broth wasn’t as intense, it passed muster with my ramen-loving daughter.
Mogu Mogu also has appetizers like pork buns, karaage chicken and fried shishito peppers. For those gluten-free diners (or those who don’t feel like eating noodles), there are rice bowls topped with pork chashu, fried chicken or spicy minced pork. To finish off your meal, you can select either a black sesame ice cream or lychee sorbet.
There’s a tiny parking lot next to the building with a few spots reserved for Mogu Mogu customers (which was full when we were there) and plenty of metered street parking on Olympic. Even though Mogu Mogu isn’t located on the main stretch of Sawtelle Japantown, it’s definitely worth going those extra few blocks for their amazing mazemen.
Location – 11555 W Olympic Blvd Suite B, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Website – https://mogumoguus.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes