Life brought me to Carson, CA recently, so on a suggestion from a friend who saw my gmail chat status (who knew that would be useful?) I checked out the Shin-Sen-Gumi in Gardena for their Hakata-style ramen.
And am I ever glad I did– it was a delicious bowl of ramen.
I’d accidentally arrived half an hour before they opened, but within a few minutes there were already another few people waiting– so it’s good I didn’t show up right at 6. I got the base Hakata ramen of pork, ginger, and green onions (choosing the default levels of noodle firmness and broth strength), and added spinach, menma, and a delicious medium-cooked seasoned egg.
I loved the broth, though it wasn’t what I usually think of as ramen broth– it almost reminded me of a chai tea — not that I think it included milk, but it was rich without being oily in the same way that milk tea would be if you soaked a pork chop in it. It wasn’t too salty or strongly miso-flavored, the oil was evently distributed, and it was hearty and mild.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you find yourself anywhere in that region at the right time of day.
The gyoza and the sweet potato shochu (cut with hot water) were good as well, but the ramen was definitely the star.