2 blocks off the 405 freeway on Western Ave., right in front of a TOYOTA dealership, sits this ramen truck. Looks like any taco truck that's seen very regularly around these parts. But this one has a lantern hanging from it that says "RA-MEN" in Japanese.
I seen this truck once before. CantStayJose and I had just eaten ramen just another block away when we drove by. I naturally spotted this truck like a hawk.
Walking up to any new food truck for the first time and taking in the menu is one of the best parts. Checking out all the sides, snacks, drinks, then I start making my decision as to what I want to start with. Rice ball with salmon? Spam musubi?
The service there is very friendly. If you don't know ramen, the nice lady will be happy to assist with serving you one of their several scalding hot delights. So don't trip, just go with it. Ask questions if you got them. Sasha and I shared a onigiri (riceball) with salmon. Always good, anywhere, any time.
As we're standing there deciding what else to get, I noticed a guy there who had just ordered before us. He had something in his hand that I was instantly drawn to. He must've noticed me staring because before any of us said hey or hi or anything, he pointed at a small hand written sign that was taped to the truck's window: NIKU MANJU, which is what its called in Japan:
In Hawaii, it's more Chinese style and its called Manapua. Oh, the stale haole way of saying it is Steamed Pork Buns, haha! Japanese style is different from the usual Hawaii style manapua though. Manapua has char-siu pork.
Of course we got a niku manju too. Very meaty, moist and hot. Almost soupy in there. They did not skimp out on the ground pork either. You could taste it was homemade, they did NOT buy them frozen from some Chinese food factory somewhere. I think it had bits of bamboo shoot in it too. Highly recommended. Needed a touch of shoyu.
That dude we met, Mark, was pretty cool too. Him and his family own a sushi spot down the street. He also catches and processes sea urchin, which is harvested off of the coast of Santa Barbara and then brought to Long Beach, where he has a shop right around the corner from where West Coast Chopper used to be.
Sasha had the veggie ramen. Broth was good. Not too tasty, not too light. Just right. Completely different both from my tonkotsu ramen.
My tonkotsu was good. Pork broth, a little on the light side. Maybe I was in the mood for miso last night. I'll go back and try the miso. Both ramens were of average portions, not too little or anything. The whole idea of eating out of a ramen truck though is what makes it THAT much more cool. Easy to get overheated eating ramen, so being outside was perfect.
So if you're into it, go check this place out. I guess they're on twitter, so you can find out where they're at but I do not twittles or twitty myself. What I do know is that they are at this location on Western, right in front of the Toyota dealership on Friday nights until about 11pm and on Saturday nights until 2am or 3am!
Don't miss out. This is probably one of those deals where you'll always regret never checking it out. Trust me, dog, just go.