Fujin Ramen — Whenever En Route to San Manuel
Earlier in the year, this was published on Eater:
“Fujin’s chef partner Elmer Komagata opened LA modern French restaurants Chabuya in 1987, and Truffles in 1989. He recently returned to LA after successfully operating a ramen restaurant in Cancun for eight years during a 14 year Mexico stint. Prior to opening Fujin in West Covina, the chef consulted on Yamada-ya’s menu and imported premium regional sake.
The Tokyo-born chef previously worked at Paris’ Trois Marches and Le Petit Bedon, both two Michelin star recipients. At Fujin, Komagata applies 30 years of stock making experience to two distinct types of broth: tonkotsu “milky white” and shang tang “crystal clear.” Each bowl of tonkotsu ramen contains the essence of a pound of bones which yields ramen soup so thick it jiggles like Jell-O. The chasu found in the ramen? Steamed, sliced, then bruleed before serving. Corn for the miso butter corn ramen is served on the cob, with a knife, after grilling; the hanjuku tamago, found in both ramen and bowls of pork belly rice over rice, is a “matter of pride” for the chef. Playfulness is even extended to the anime dragon painted on the wall (being ridden by a baby, as inspired by Son Goku).
Three different types of noodles (custom percentage of water, flour type, and cutting blades) are made for Fujin Ramen. The noodles are then paired to three distinct types of ramen: Hokkaido, Nagasaki,and Taiwanese. Yes, here one can find Taiwan’s most famous bowl of noodle soup as interpreted by a French trained Japanese chef.”
Still, none of that says much about the ramen. The tonkotsu is a 6-bone mix (including chicken feet! Yummers!), simmered for 8 hours. Noodles are sourced from Myojyo, just like the other SGV fave, Foo Foo Tei.
The tonkotsu broth is opaque. Frosted, if you will. The chicken stock based “crystal clear broth” shangtang (menu description / transcription, not mine) is available after 5:30pm, and is offered in “Raijin, Shang-Tang, Ma-Bo, and Niu-Lo-Men” forms.
Add-on’s include a pound of veggie, named “mashi mashi” (like Ramen Jiro — the famous Tokyo ramen shop), additional kotteri (NB: the blood stream can not handle the tonkotsu as is), and is there absolutely zero problem with the kakuni ala ASA/Yamada-Ya etc. I think, with the QC and cooking done personally by the chef who is in the kitchen daily, the level of thoughtfulness & execution can not be beat. And it’s not a salt bomb ala ASA though do not expect Ramen California type of product. There’s no ramenhound’s choice when it comes to noodles/katame at the moment. This may raise a noodle fiend’s ire, but hey, hardly anyone complains to Sang Yoon about that burgers these days.
If you’re totally over the ramen trend, you can always go for the fantastic (and affordable) bowl of buta meshi, soy braised pork belly over rice. And if that doesn’t appease you, Fujin has “Japanese” hot dogs. Really. Someone go try that and let us know how it is while the rest of us stick to the unctuous ramen since it’s snowing outside.
Hong Kong Plaza
1017 S Glendora Ave
West Covina, CA 91790