Mogu Mogu - Mazemen and Ramen just celebrated its grand opening in Sawtelle Japantown. The previous ramen-ya in this space (the mediocre Dosanko) was never able to establish much business. How will this new contender fare? Well, there’s one way to find out! Let’s go!!!
First of all, what is mazemen? The explanation given by my server Tomo is that it’s basically soupless ramen. Instead of soup, a hearty sauce or gravy (sort of a Bolognese, if you will) gives the bowl its punch. Towards the last 1/3 of the bowl, much as in tsukemen, one may add a special pepper-infused vinegar to give the flavor another dimension. Then, when there is only some of the delicious meaty sauce remaining, a complimentary scoop of rice is added to make the bowl an oi-meshi, thereby allowing for a satisfying finish.
Shishito… Very nicely flash-fried. Zero very spicy peppers in this batch. Liked it very much.
Mogu bun (Natsu): Steamed bun filled with chashu pork, kale, cilantro, “japapeño”, served with sour sauce… Tasty! The chashu is savory and enticing here.
Mogu bun (Haru): Steamed bun filled with chashu pork, kale, and served with secret house-flavored sauce and mayo… Delicious.
Deluxe mazemen: Sliced pork chashu, spicy minced pork, poached egg, chives, minced garlic, fish powder, nori (seaweed), ajitama (soft-boiled egg), seaweed flakes, scallion, with an extra side of corn… WOW! The fish sauce really stands out to give this bowl lots of life. The eggs, done two-ways, is also nice touch. The sauce itself has just the right amount of kick. Let’s mix it up!!!
The curly noodles here in the mazemen bowl are thick and temptingly chewy, and soak up all that yummy gravy well. The chashu pork is delicious to boot…
As we near the bottom of the bowl, the rice is added, and the spoon is used to polish off the whole affair - A fitting coda to the mazemen.
Don’t care much for mazemen? Well, that’s okay, because Mogu Mogu also serves a very decent bowl of light (read: Non-slurry) tonkotsu ramen! The broth is made from pork and fish dashi, and offers hope to diners who are looking for rich flavor without digging through a viscous soup. The noodles in the ramen are thinner than the ones used in the mazemen.
Kara-age bowl: Mogu chicken, scallion, Sriracha mayo & rice… The Mogu fried chicken is quite excellent, and anchors this side bowl very well.
Glorious runny yolk on the ajitama. No complaints here.
Dessert time!!! Black sesame ice cream and lychee sorbet: Nothing out of the ordinary, but nevertheless these were refreshing treats after the noodles.
Mogu Mogu offers an enticing introduction to mazemen to those who are seeking a new way to enjoy noodles. Noodles here (both the mazemen and ramen) are thoroughly enjoyable, and the side dishes are competently prepared also. Service was cheerful and attentive. Given the quality of the food here, they should do well, and I wish them success.
Mogu Mogu - Mazemen and Ramen
11555 W. Olympic Bl., Suite B
Los Angeles, CA 90064