Koreatown hosts many of Los Angeles’s best Korean restaurants, but it also is home to one of the finest ramen shops in town – Iki Ramen. Tucked in a mini mall on Western, this izakaya was started by a group of friends, including the general manager of n/naka.
If there’s an upside to the pandemic, it’s that parking, typically difficult in Koreatown, is much easier. We ordered online as soon as the restaurant opened and found a mostly empty parking lot. The door was open, so I could walk in and pick up my bag without touching anything else.
I live twenty minutes away and everything held up quite nicely. The ramen and the broths come packaged separately, and I didn’t need to reheat the broth when I arrived back home.
The tonkotsu ramen comes with a couple of slices of pork belly, corn, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, egg and a nori square.
Iki Ramen is the first restaurant I’ve seen use vegan Impossible meat in their ramen. Their Vegan Spicy Miso Ramen had a mixture of that meat with tofu, wood ear mushrooms, corn, scallion and nori with a smear of togarashi miso, which was quite spicy. My pescatarian husband, a heat junkie who’s always on the hunt for dishes with Impossible meat, loved it.
My yuzu shio had the cleanest, clearest chicken broth that I’ve ever had, with citrus undertones. Their braised pork belly was completely dreamy, melting in my mouth, complemented with a perfect soft boiled egg. Menma and scallions and nori rounded out the dish. My only complaint would be that the thin noodles were a little too understated since I prefer thicker chewy ramen – though probably a better match for the simplicity of the broth.
Iki Ramen is noted for having terrific appetizers and sushi, which I hope to try. Finding a great Japanese restaurant in the middle of Koreatown was one of the bright spots about the pandemic. With less traffic, it made a visit to another part of town much easier – though I’d much rather have things back to normal, even if it means hunting for parking in order to taste that porky perfection again.
Location – 740 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Website – http://ikiramen.com
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes