Is It Any Good?

Good Ramen in Rosemead.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen on Urbanspoon
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen on Foodio54

One of the things I keep hearing about Los Angeles, is the fact that it doesn’t have a center.

To me, this is a feature, not a bug. Because Los Angeles doesn’t have a center, you can find delicious and tasty things in various parts of town, not just in the one.

For Japanese-Americans, Little Tokyo near downtown is the place that is historically known as the Japanese-Americans. Maybe it was at one point (thank you America’s casually racist immigration laws), but Sawtelle Japantown has an equally proud and long history. There is also a large, prosperous Japanese-Americans down in Torrance, and they’ve got the food to back it up.

But because Los Angeles has no center, it doesn’t just limit you to finding good Japanese food in those three places. You can also find some in the San Gabriel Valley.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen is deep in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley (in Rosemead to specific), around the corner from Saigon Bakery and Sandwiches. Up the street from Babita’s Mexicuisine. It’s tucked away in the middle of a large Mini-Mall. It’s not a huge restaurant, and generates a mess of business. I got there a little after 12:00pm, and still had to wait a bit to get a seat at the counter.

Coming it, I was led to my seat by the very attractive waitstaff. (Sorry.  I’m a guy, and the Hostess there is gorgeous.) Service is done in a team, you may give your order to one person, but don’t be surprised if someone else runs it to you. Worry not, this is not a bad thing, and overall the service is pretty damn snappy.

Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi in San Gabriel. And that's about as short as the line got during the Lunch Hour.

I find Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen a conscientious and precise Ramen place. I say that because when I pulled up to the counter, I got a good look at what the chef was doing. This guy was had it going on, and the Ramen that I got was pretty good.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I got the Hakata Ramen, and Hakata Ramen, according to the Company website:

Hakata ramen originated in Hakata city located north west of Kyushu . The main characteristic of Hakata ramen is the white, thick soup that is made from pork bones, also called Tonkotsu (pork bone) soup/ramen. Some of the other differences in character it has from other types of ramen are thinner noodles, and the simple decorative toppings of [Char siu], chopped scallions, red colored ginger, and sesame seeds.

The Ramen I had was okay. Well, actually better than okay. But after having a lot of Tonkotsu over the last couple of weeks, the broth here was subtler than the stuff I’ve had recently. But, before you see this as a slam, just understand. I liked what I had, I thought it was good, I just thought I had had better recently. I was not disappointed in the least. I don’t think the Chef screwed me. He was doing his thing and doing it well, but the broth didn’t not stand out as much (to me), given the crowd the restaurant is generating.

The Ramen at Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi in San Gabriel.

The Ramen at Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi in San Gabriel.

Remember kids, there is no one way to do Ramen Broth. Each man will find what he likes from restaurant to restaurant. Some of you will not doubt read this, and think I am out of my ever lovin’ mind. You may mind the broth at Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen heaven-sent.

Good. You should.

Like I said, each man to his broth. This didn’t fully do it for me. For me it was B or B-, but I’d have it again in a second.

I will say that the accompaniment of Gyoza that came with the Lunch was a bit disappointment, thought. They were microscopically small, again…compared what I’ve had over the last few weeks, and the meat inside didn’t not register on the taste/flavor scale at all. I don’t know what the hell happened there.

The really, really small Lunch Gyoza at Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi in San Gabriel.

The really, really small Lunch Gyoza at Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi in San Gabriel.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Despite everything you just read, I will say, I do like the way Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen runs their shop. They give you a checklist, kind of like you’d find at modern Dim Sum joint. You check off what you want, what additions you’d like, hand it off to one of the Waitstaff and you’re off to the races.

The restaurant has a good system, even while waiting (and next time I’ll be sure to do this), you can fill out your form in advance (like at a good Dim Sum place) hit your seat and order in one fell swoop.


PARKING: Outstanding. The Parking at this Mini-mall is plentiful and free. Things we like to see in any parking lot.


Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen
8450 E. Valley Blvd. #103
Rosemead, CA 91770

Tel: (626) 572-8646

Monday-Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm / 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00am – 11:20pm