Thanks to @J_L for the early report, we decided to stop by Ramen Bangaichi, eager for yet another regional style of Ramen to hit L.A.
From the signage, posters and chatting with the server, Ramen Bangaichi is serving Asahikawa Ramen from Hokkaido. I’m not a Rameniac (I wish!), but looking at the guide that @Starchtrade posted, Bangaichi’s Ramen doesn’t really match the description (there’s no layer of melted lard to keep the Ramen soup piping hot, and Ramen Bangaichi uses Pork, Seafood and Vegetables (no Chicken)). But regardless, we were excited to give it a try!
Shoyu Ramen (Char-siu Pork, Bamboo Shoots, Green Onions, Bean Sprouts):
The Shoyu Ramen should be the standout representative Asahikawa Ramen (according to our server), and the Ramen article seems to corroborate that. Bangaichi cooks their Broth for over 11 hours, using a Pork, Seafood and Vegetable base.
The Shoyu is very light and clean; one of the cleanest we’ve tried recently. However it’s a touch too light for my tastes, but they might still be balancing things out, or maybe that’s the style. There is no layer of hot Lard however.
They also ran out of Moyashi this evening, but the Bamboo Shoots and Green Onions provided some nice spikes in flavor.
The Ramen Noodles are a touch overcooked (just a touch), but match the Soup well.
Miso “Soybean Sauce” Bangaichi Ramen (Char-siu Pork, Bamboo Shoots, Green Onions, Bean Sprouts, Sesame, Butter, Corn, Seaweed, Flavored Egg):
Perhaps one of the most standout styles from Hokkaido is Sapporo Miso Ramen, and while Bangaichi is from Asahikawa, we wanted to give their Miso a try (listed on the menu as “Soybean Sauce”). This was excellent! A very well-balanced Miso flavor, not too salty, with a bit of sweetness coming through, it might be one of the best Miso Ramen we have in L.A. right now (but to be fair, it’s not saying much - we recently tried a bunch of Miso Ramen in L.A. / O.C. but I didn’t write anything because we found nothing really remarkable).
It’s not as good as Mottainai when it first opened up (with its wok-fired Miso base), but it’s enjoyable with the Corn and Butter.
The Noodles are slightly overcooked / soft, like with the Shoyu Ramen.
The Char-siu (or Chashu) Pork is OK. They provide ample meat with thick cut slices of Pork, but the negative is that it’s not very tender. A touch stringy, it won’t make you forget about the luscious slabs at Kitakata or Tsujita or E.A.K.
And our experience with the Egg was the same as @J_L: Overcooked, Hard-Boiled Egg was disappointing.
Japanese-Style Fried Rice (with Shrimp):
Their Chahan was passable. It’s great for the area, but lacks the panache of a great Fried Rice.
I would agree with @Starchtrade that this is the best Ramen for Silver Lake / Los Feliz area. Ramen Bangaichi’s strength seems to be its Miso Ramen, capturing a really nice depth of flavor without it being overly heavy or salty. The Soy Sauce Ramen is very light, which should be welcome for those tired of the heavy, super porky Tonkotsu (Pork Bone) style Ramen.
Overall (while a different style), for a lighter style of Ramen, I think we prefer Kitakata Ramen Bannai’s offerings over this, and for a heavier style, I think E.A.K. Ramen or The Tsujita (in small doses). But for Miso Ramen, I think Bangaichi is the most enjoyable right now. Now if they can only improve the Egg and Chashu and they’d have an outstanding winner.
4331 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Tel: (323) 522-6578