What makes Japanese food in LA special?

Agreed @bulavinaka. :slight_smile: But also thinking about your thought here, it also applies to many other cuisines as well: That “fancier” restaurants (be it American (Providence), Italian, French, etc.) gets more media attention than neighborhood (more visited) American, Italian, French restaurants as well.

But that’s why I love FTC so much: The FTC’ers call out great food regardless of price, if it’s a great street taco, or a little mom-and-pop shop, etc., we talk about great food first. :wink:



You mean like “TonkAtsu Ramen” instead of “TonkOtsu Ramen”? :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve seen that mistake so many times. :slight_smile:


So based on what you’re saying, does that mean that it sucks?



The words I see most often mispronunciated are:


I am not sure if they are intentionally doing it to talk down to their audience or they simply don’t do their job to inform viewers correctly.



Sackee - uh, sake.
Magoo-row - maguro or a cartoon character on an 8-man crew boat?


Behold, tonkatsu ramen (photo taken from the internet, pork cutlet miso ramen from Niseko area in Hokkaido…)


Kai Ramen has a popcorn chicken ramen that’s pretty good and has the same general concept, crispy skin in ramen broth. Keeps it’s texture really well.

i don’t think it needs to go there. i mean if you had a chinese restaurant on the west side and a counterpart in the SGV, just about everyone would make certain assumptions in that the west side items would be more expensive and probably not quite the same level of quality.

it might be appropriate to explore the levels of authenticity vs. assimilation and fusion. n/naka is well regarded here, but not taken seriously by many japanese because the chef is female. korea town is considered by some to a korean outpost; IIRC soon tofu actually started here and made its way overseas to korea. do they serve california rolls in japan? it’s a question worth asking IMO.

perhaps unsurprisingly, they sure do at nobu japan.

Hi @beefnoguy,

Nice! :slight_smile: Well, we know they meant Tonkotsu when the accompanying English text reads something like “a pork bone broth.” :wink: Although this Tonkatsu Ramen from Niseko seems… too soggy. :slight_smile:

You may have missed a joke there. Nevertheless, your thoughtful response is interesting to think about.

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This does not answer you question, but I hope it’s relevant anyway.

Does anyone know of any Japanese restaurants in LA that serve breakfast? When I visited Japan, we had everything from elaborate brunches to soups that you order by buying a ticket from a vending machine then handing the ticket to the cook.

My (Japanese American/Torrance born-and-raised) wife and I are always looking around to see if anyone, anywhere is serving anything that could be called Japanese breakfast.

As for what makes Japanese food in LA special?

This is my opinion and I share it reluctantly because I don’t think it’s a popular opinion.

In Los Angeles, there are a ton of places where you can eat good, reasonably priced sushi. I do understand that at the very highest end, the quality is much better and much more expensive. But if you’re willing to settle for “good to pretty darn good” instead of “great to awesome to amazing” there are a zillion neighborhood spots that serve good enough, very fresh sushi at affordable prices. To eat in the best places really does cost a lot of money (though I suppose a lot to me might not be a lot to others). But for those of us willing to lower our standards to match our wallets (or, to be fair, our priorities – I spend more than I should on other things) it seems like every neighborhood has a good spot to eat some sushi.


This is a very popular sentiment. Thanks for sharing it - Needs to be heard.


Breakfast for most Nihonjin is traditionally eaten at home for the most part - usually a pretty informal affair. Finding breakfast houses inJapan is kinda rare (not counting ryokan/hotels). Considering this, it would be even more uncommon to find a place that offers a Japanese-style asa gohan here. But Fukugawa in the Pacific Square shopping center on Redondo Beach Blvd does offer it - even the raw egg option.


it’s kind of you to say so. FWIW, for the most part, i’m a literalist.

Thanks for the info and for the rec

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I am not sure, honestly.

But there seems to be far more of a pretense to authenticity with Japanese food compared to other types of food presented by various populations in Los Angeles, and yet I can hardly think of a cuisine that is more often criticized for deviating significantly and falling far short from what is available in Japan. It is also by far the most expensive cuisine type in LA.

That makes it a rather unique cuisine. One might wonder how it is possible for the collective apparatus of Japanese restauranteurs and chefs to be striving for and presenting themselves as having achieved authenticity to a degree one often doesn’t quite see in other cuisine types, but AT THE SAME TIME, no cuisine falls shorter of authenticity than Japanese food. One might legitimately wonder how these two conditions exist simultaneously; it could make for an interesting article it seems like. I would certainly enjoy reading such an article since the answer eludes me at present.

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I second the Fukagawa rec. Excellent breakfast, too.

What makes Japanese food in LA special?


The chefs from Japan who hold a high degee of respect here deserve it. They have serious skills that were finely honed in the old country. As good as these chefs are, they may be considered “second string” in Japan. Many also are free spirits, and find Japan’s cultural aspects stifling.

With that said, they don’t have the extremely persnickety food supply chain and obsessive culture that pervades Japan. Tsukiji alone exemplifies the serious nature of Japan’s seafood supply chain. But honestly - although it is the king of seafood in Japan, they are only one of dozens of seafood centers throughout the various harbors throughout Japan. And these seafood centers rise and fall in seafood offerings with the ebb and flow of the seasons relative to the ocean and it’s organisms.

Seasonality is like a religion in Japan. Certificates are often provided with certain seafoods, indicating their provinence to prove date, time and area caught (usually famous for a particular organism in season).

This concept can be applied to just about every other food item grown, raised, caught or created in Japan. Various meats and produce are often accompanied with certificares. Probably the most famous are the “gift” melons with certificates that also indicate the exact day which the melon is prime for consumption. Again - obsessive is the buzzword in Japan. So many growers and providers strive to offer the best of ______ possible, yet are always striving to improve upon their previous efforts. We are starting to see this obsessiveness here, but this is the exception - not the rule as it is in Japan.

So when a chef with serious skills comes here and displays the products of his talents, many will be impressed. However, those that have had the opprtunity of dining on both sides of the Pacific will undoubtedly compare examples of the same dish that have been eaten in both countries. Which example do you think will be favored? And it is this comparison that contributes to the dicotomy of which you mention.

Chefs with great skills but with a lesser list of ingredients to work with will be handicapped from the start. But innovation (e.g. Shunji) makes up for some of this.