The Best Ramen in LA is Vegan
Ramen is traditionally a mecca of non-vegan ingredients; pork, fish or beef broth, topped with more meat, and a egg. So for a vegan ramen to be named LAs best is no small feat.
Munchies reports that Ramen Hood at Grand Central Market is downtown LA has done it. Chef Rahul Khopkar is responsible for the four-month-old, 16-seat restaurant that is getting all sorts of attention.
It starts with the broth, a glossy umami-filled tonkotsu broth. It’s made with a mushroom dashi, mixed with a base of cooked-down onions, sunflower seed risotto, miso, nutritional yeast, and chili oil. To it, pork-like flash-fried and roasted oyster mushrooms, ‘eggy’ noodles, and a sodium alginate concoction that makes a convincing egg doppleganger are added. I’m nerding out about the egg.
Khopkar told Munchies: “Surprisingly, it took us only three iterations to get it to the point where we are happy with it.” The whites are made in molds with soy milk and agar agar (a thickener). The wizardry of the runny yolks are a mixture of beta carotene, nutritional yeast, B-vitamins, sodium alginate, and black salt. The yolks spend some time frozen before taking a calcium chloride bath to form their skin. One last hot bath tempers them, and they’re ready for ramen topping.
LA diners aren’t the only ones who can’t slurp up enough. “We’ve had a couple of people who lived in Japan come and tell us that this is the best bowl of ramen that they’ve ever had, but I have no illusions that that’s true because I’ve been to Japan and eaten ramen there,” Khopkar joked.
In this case, they couldn’t have picked a better restaurant name, as Ramen Hood is taking favourites from the meat-eaters and giving it to the vegans. Can I be Maid Marian?
Photo from Munchies