Ramen Showdown

Frances Wu , News Editor

While college students are notorious for surviving on pre-packaged Top Ramen for months at a time, for the rest of us, ramen is an occasional indulgence that consists of a steaming bowl of delicious noodles in savory broth.

Luckily for the citizens living in Diamond Bar, there are several ramen restaurants nearby to choose from, each with its own distinctive flavor.

Ajisen Ramen

For a variety of toppings and soup flavors, check out Ajisen Ramen, which is located  in Rowland Heights. I decided to ordered the Premium Pork ramen, and while the pork was plentiful, it definitely wasn’t “premium.”

Parts of the pork slices were hard to chew, and I ended up having to pick out almost a third of the meat. The noodles were thin and chewy, a rare yet wonderful combination, and the soup was delicious, if a little too salty.

Additionally, the ramen shop offers a variety of other Japanese dishes, like sushi and gyoza, as well as traditional fruit-flavored slushies.

My friend and I decided to order the overpriced California Roll for $6 to go with our ramen.

We found it immensely disappointing; the outer rice was completely covered with chunks of fish roe, the avocado being almost non-existent, and the imitation crab meat was near-unpalatable.

In addition, the  ramen restaurant is brightly lit and welcoming, filled to the brim with tables awaiting eager customers visiting.

Conveniently next to the restaurant is desert shop, Yogurtland, so customers can have an icy dessert to counter the hot soup afterwards.

However, for almost $10 a bowl, a 30 to 40 minute wait during peak times, and a lack of parking spots, ramen enthusiasts can probably find a similarly delicious bowl of ramen somewhere else.

18253 Colima Rd

Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Kopan Ramen

Kopan Ramen, also in Rowland Heights, offers a more traditional version of ramen, with a simple menu consisting of one pork-based broth, a vegetarian alternative, and a couple of options for toppings.

I ordered the Chashu Pork ramen with beef gyoza on the side for $10, and found that the noodles themselves are similar to those of Ajisen, although a little thinner and “crunchier,” and the broth is definitely a lot richer.

However, one problem I discovered is that the soup is almost too salty, and I found myself gulping down an entire glass of water after the meal.

The chashu pork, also known as braised pork belly, was tender and delicious, and the layers of meat melted in my mouth.

Kopan offers a variety of sides to go with the noodles, as well as a sushi menu. The beef gyoza that I ordered was  pan-fried to perfection, resulting in a texture that was crispy on the outside, with a flavorful, juicy inside.

The restaurant is a little small, and during peak times customers may have to endure a short wait, but the cheery atmosphere, peppy music, and fun decor more than make up for it. For $7 per bowl, the meal is definitely worth it.

19705 E Colima Rd

Rowland Heights, CA

Tamaya

One of the lesser-known but older ramen restaurants in the area is Tamaya, located in Hacienda Heights. It is the most comprehensive of the three by far in the range of toppings and soup bases that the menu includes, and the noodles, in my opinion, are the best as well.

Ramen bowls range from lighter offerings with a Shoyu base, to ultra-rich bowls with curry soup. The menu also contains other traditional Japanese dishes like pork katsu with curry, in both rice and ramen form.

I ordered the Kotteri Tonkotsu ramen for around $9, which has a “richer and thicker” soup base, and unlike the soup from the other two restaurants, I didn’t find the it too salty or rich. The noodles were more like those of Chinese dishes, but I definitely preferred that more.

While the bowl included a generous portion of pork, certain parts of the pork were a little too hard, but overall, the dish was still enjoyable. The restaurant itself is the smallest of the three, so there may be a short wait during peak hours, and the decor is simplistic, with brush paintings hanging on the dark walls.

17142 Colima Rd,

Hacienda  Heights, CA