Don't be confused by the slightly misleading sign that is big enough to see from far away that says "20 Hours Tonkatsu Ramen." Blame it on the vague wording, T's co-worker once asked, Why would a ramen place open 20 hours a day? No, that isn't what the sign is trying to tell you. Ramen Yamadaya dedicates 20 hours everyday in boiling at the highest temperature the broth with pork bones. The resulting pork bone broth is rich in flavor and creamy in color. Preparing the broth should never be underestimated as it can make or break a bowl of ramen and Ramen Yamadaya gets it. Ramen Yamadaya in L.A. made me crave for it even after a week of returning to Chicago.
Ramen Yamadaya has several locations in L.A. and the one we went to was in Westwood. It was lunchtime and people in business suits and dresses were there seeking the tonkatsu ramen as much as students from the nearby University of California- Los Angeles campus. For those dining alone at Ramen Yamadaya, there is a short stretch of counter seating with the table top narrow enough in width just to place the bowl of ramen and perhaps a side order.
How the menu works is that you choose the type of broth and all of them are tonkatsu-based broth. I am a purist so I went with the original tonkatsu ramen which came with the basic pork bones broth. Don't let the word basic undermine your initial impression of it's flavor. My ramen was absolutely tasty and intense in flavor. Every spoonful of broth that went into my mouth was delightful. There was also an option to choose the level of spiciness and I went with Level 2 which came with a dollop of chilli paste and a spoonful of chilli powder on top of the ramen. For T's ramen, he chose the tonkatsu shoyu broth which came drizzled with black garlic oil over the ramen. Additional ramen toppings can be ordered such as chashu pork, pork belly, or pork loin.
Though not mentioned in the menu, if you love garlic, be sure to request for a side of raw garlic cloves. The small plate will be brought to your table along with the garlic press and simply add some crushed raw garlic into the ramen. We tried a little bit of our ramen prior to adding the garlic just so that we could compare the taste of the ramen with and without the garlic, and no doubt the garlic added a kick to the ramen.
A place that prides itself with boiling the tonkatsu ramen broth for 20 hours has our vote.
Ramen Yamadaya (has several locations in the L.A. area)
1248 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024