Iki Ramen – Koreatown

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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The tonkotsu ramen comes with a couple of slices of pork belly, corn, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, egg and a nori square.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

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