Legit, Excellent Kurume-style Ramen hits Pasadena - Tatsunoya Ramen [Thoughts + Pics]



I’m sure I could look this up on my own but… what is “Kurume” style? :smile:

Basically OG Tonkotsu.


Nice report.

Do you know if they’re using noodles from Sun? Or someplace else?

@paranoidgarliclover It’s a style of Ramen originating from Kurume, Japan. Southern portion of the country. It’s basically one of the most creamy, porky styles. @ipsedixit said it best: OG Tonkotsu style Ramen. Uses thin, straight noodles to pair with it (like Hakata style).

But Tatsunoya’s version is less pork-forward (hahahahah) than Shin Sen Gumi. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Now I’m genuinely torn…

Do I try this tomorrow for lunch, pre-movie, or do I go further east and go to SGV?

decisions, decisions…

If it helps, a quick drive-by today (I was grabbing a few kilos of Leo Bulgarini’s legendary pistachio gelato to go) showed a LONG line out the door at Tatsunoya.

This (ramen+long lines) might just be a Pasadena thing.

Modan Ramen has a line out the door seemingly every time I’m at Bristol Farms.

Remember the old but prolific “Pasadena is weak” thread on the-site-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned? Maybe that’s changing.

That may end up being a factor, yeah.

I suppose it’s naive at this point to expect any real thinning of crowds on actual Xmas day, especially on an opening weekend.

Folks were talking about going to DeSanos after the new year. Maybe we should put this on the list too.

@Chowseeker1999 thanks for the report and helpful comparisons :+1:

If you’re close to Sawtelle, Tsujita is open tomorrow.

Can confirm. 40 minutes deep at least.

They have two types of noodles at the moment, both from Sun Noodle.

Thanks @ipsedixit. :slight_smile:

@noddles beat me to it: They have 2 types of noodles that match their 2 ramen styles: Straight, thin type for the Tonkotsu and a yellow, thicker type for their Spicy Miso Ramen. I thought both types matched pretty well.

Funny story was that the first waitress I asked said the noodles were from Japan, but then someone else mentioned it was made locally.


One Jun Tonktsu w/ egg and dried seaweed

Egg was overdone but still very tasty.

Despite the long line on a Saturday night the staff was organized and relatively efficient. They were out of the apps but that was fine. It was cold and a hot soup was more than sufficient.

First of all the broth. It IS as mentioned a much lighter affair than the richness of Tsujita. It doesn’t have that unctuous, coat-you-lips quality like at silver lake. But oh my oh my it’s tasty. Not a big salt bomb, just a nice clean perky broth that lets you still enjoy the bits of green onion. Enough to make me lift the empty bowl to my lips to get the last drops.

The noodles were firm and chewy and plentiful.

The egg, th one disappointment, was overdone. Mostly solid though. Darn tasty though.

But the absolute star was the chasu. Skip the egg and seaweed add ons. Get the extra chasu. Thin ribbons of fat streaked throughout each slice just melt away on your tongue leaving just enough meat to chew. And you want to because each slice has a charred outer bit wherein lives the most glorious taste of burnt swine I’ve had in a while.

It’s awfully nice to be so spoiled for choice when it comes to ramen. You can now seemingly get a half decent bowl in almost any part of town, and there’s enough quality stuff that one could actively debate ‘best’ and come up multiple correct answers based on taste.

Nice problems to have.



We found ourselves back in the area and curious to see how Tatsunoya was doing.

There was thankfully no line, but still relatively busy. We didn’t see Chef-Owner Ryuta Kajiwara there, but the staff looked well-organized and our worries went away when our bowls of Ramen arrived. :slight_smile:

Jun Tonkotsu Ramen (Original Flavor Pork Bone Soup with Noodles):

One sip and it’s just as creamy and porky as before. :smile: It’s been a while since we’ve had any Tonkotsu Ramen (Pork Bone Broth), besides the weather, it’s also just on the heavy side. But Tatsunoya’s Kurume-style Ramen is really, really good. It has a purity and deep Pork Bone flavor with each sip, having been stewed for hours.

The layer of Garlic & Onion Oil is fragrant and adds to the deliciousness. :slight_smile:

Koku Tonkotsu Ramen (Rich Pork Bone Broth Noodles with Pork Back Fat, Spicy Miso, Garlic and Burnt Onion Oil):

This is their extra rich version of their original Kurume-style Ramen, this time with Pork Back Fat rendered down into the soup. :slight_smile: It is definitely richer, fattier and yet it’s also really, really delicious! :slight_smile: However, we definitely couldn’t sip much of the soup; just sort of letting it coat the Ramen Noodles and it was enough richness for us. :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

But it still wasn’t as heavy as Tsujita’s Tsukemen & Ramen, thankfully.

The Chashu (Roast Pork) were better than our last visit, more tender, yet still with some firmness and very fresh (thankfully).

The thin, straight Noodles are still perfectly cooked (with a good firmness) and the classic pairing with Kurume & Hakata-style Ramen. Excellent! :slight_smile:

I’m glad to see Tatsunoya keep its level of quality since the Grand Opening, and it remains a bastion of great Tonkotsu Ramen here in L.A. (in Pasadena).

I find myself still leaning towards Kitakata Ramen Bannai for my favorite bowl of Ramen right now (much lighter Ramen), but for Tonkotsu, I might have to give Tatsunoya the edge over other long-standing places.

Tatsunoya Ramen
16 N Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena,CA 91103
Tel: 626-432-1768


I think Tatsunoya makes a very good bowl of ramen. Had the spicy miso chasu today with thick noodles. Good broth and not too oily/overly porky like you mention. The only gripe I have is that you only get 3 smaller pieces of chasu in a bowl for $12.45. The chasu was very good and wouldn’t have minded a few more pieces.

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Order the extra chasu option. skip the egg

Last time I was there, my egg was perfectly cooked. You also get a whole egg.

Signage up for a new store in Silver Lake right next to Blue Star donuts. Will this place be an upgrade from Silver Lake Ramen?

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