Somebody get me some chopsticks because National Noodle Day is coming up on October 6 and this Noodle Queen needs to start training. Cue “Eye of the Tiger” music for my soundtrack please, because I’m about to get down to business and run my personal LA marathon: a Noodle Marathon, that is.
There are a gazillion places in this city that make noodles, plenty of them deserving recognition. But for the sake of variety and to share some of my personal favorites with you all, I’m listing the 10 must-eat stops on my personal route below. Try one, try two, or take the ultimate challenge and try them all! This day is ours for the indulging, my noodle compatriots! Carpe diem!
Tsujita Artisan Noodle
2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
You never forget your first kiss (of their porkier than pork dipping broth), and I have a special place in my heart reserved for Tsujita’s tsukemen. To Tsujita, you were my first date with dipping ramen and as long as you never change your perfect recipe and execution, I forever pledge my love and loyalty.
2030 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Their Tokyo style dandan noodle without soup is to die for, and if you go any higher than level 3 spice and numbness, it is very likely you (or at least your mouth) will! The sweet sesame tames the spice while the noodle-clinging sauce makes you smack your lips in satisfaction.
Hangari Baijirak Kalguksu
3470 W 6th St, Ste 9 & 10, Los Angeles, CA 90020
The fresh wheat noodles in a loaded homestyle chicken or seafood broth paired with their house kimchi takes you back to the warm soothing embrace of your grandmother’s kitchen when you were a kid, if your grandmother was Korean. It’s also perfect to cure a hangover whether you’re an insomniac college student or just someone who parties like one.
329 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Get in line here for made to order, handmade udon noodles in a traditional dashi broth or something more adventurous like uni cream sauce or carbonara. I tend to go cold zaru style, especially on hot days it gives you a refreshing bite.
Men Oh Tokushima
456 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Love ramen but getting bored of the same old tonkotsu broth over and over again? Try the 16-hour signature broth from Japan’s Tokushima region paired with ramen noodles made from the restaurant’s own noodle facility that recreates the noodles served in their Japan shop. While the broth base uses tonkotsu, the final product is something a little different, less artery clogging, yet more savory at the same time.
Pasta e Pasta by Allegro
432 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Japanese style Italian combines traditionally Italian dishes with Japanese ingredients to give you something different and delicious. Tomato based sauces have a sweetness lent from kabocha squash while the unique dishes featuring uni or mentaiko bring the taste of the ocean to any aspiring mermaid.
Now on 9 Thai Bistro
12510 Riverside Dr, Valley Village, CA 91607
Fresh tamarind and spices flavor the pad thai at this family-owned restaurant. Topped with crisp, perfectly cooked shrimp and chewy rice noodles, this is easily the best pad thai I’ve had, ever.
3900 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
Their fresh fettuccine with homemade pink sauce takes me back to my honeymoon through Tuscany where authentic dishes were made with deliciously simple, fresh ingredients and love.
Corner Beef Noodle House
3948 Peck Rd, El Monte, CA 91732
I love the combo with everything – tendon, beef, and tripe, all slow braised to be chopstick tender, sitting happily in a flavorful Taiwanese style beef broth with chewy thick noodles. Add a little pickled mustard green here, add a little pickled mustard green there. Afraid you put too much? No such thing as a mistake when it comes to pickled greens in this dish. Heck, dump all the mustard greens in, see how happy they all are?
1718 New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776
The dish called Big Platter Chicken (大盤雞) is a super flavorful chili braised chicken and potatoes stew over fresh made-to-order wide noodles. This dish is not for the timid. Not only is it a large portion (it’s not called little plate chicken), but the prickly ash and red chilis make this a numbingly spicy challenge to finish, despite the robust flavors enticing you to slurp another foot long strand of noodle. In fact, I challenge you to eat the whole strand without biting off an end or cutting it.
Are you ready to loosen those waistbands, break out the maternity pants (get ready for a food baby), and eat your way across LA? In the name of the Flying Pasta Monster, we shall go, we shall eat, we shall conquer, and at the end of the day, we shall say with a satisfied belly pat, “It was good.” Who’s with me?
– Aimee & the WAI SIK team, @waisikmommy