Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo – Los Angeles, CA

123 Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka St. #202
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 625-3400

Leave it to rameniac to discover (by chance) the newest ramen-ya on the LA scene. Located in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court directly beneath the infamous Orochon Ramen, Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo takes a risky Sichuan-style jump across the Pacific, hoping to promote good health by making you sweat.

So why does this restaurant look so familiar? Ohhh, it’s that chain of ramen-ya’s from Japan! I now remember walking by the Ebisu branch, thinking “hmm should I or shouldn’t I?…Nah!” I then proceeded to hit up Tsukumo Ramen instead. I now regret not trying it, solely because it could have made the basis for a great comparison. Anyhow, let’s see what Chin-Ma-Ya of LA has to offer.

Tan-Tan Men: The signature ramen at Chin-Ma-Ya is the Sichuan-influenced Tan-Tan Men that can be ordered in 3 different spice levels–original (highest), medium, and mild. I chose to begin with the original cuz I’m always in the mood for a good kick. Not nearly as spicy as the dreaded “Special 2” from their upstairs neighbor, this original Tan-Tan Men has just enough spice to still make the flame enjoyable. And aside from its spiciness, there’s also a great nutty flavor that permeates a heavy, concentrated soup. The noodles are average at best, but most importantly they match the soup almost perfectly. The toppings (ground pork & spinach) are typical of a simple tan-tan ramen and just as important as the noodle itself.

On the backside of the menu, a brief explanation of the inherent benefits of this type of soup are explained in Japanese. Apparently, the ingredients that make up this ramen (including capsaicin) are very good for you. From increasing circulation and promoting a healthy digestive system to stimulating the brain and building a better immune system, this bowl may end up quieting all the ramen haters out there.

Karaage Ramen (Shoyu): Aside from their signature Tan-Tan Men, they also offer a few bowls that use a traditional Shoyu or Shio base and the Karaage Ramen is one of them. As basic as it sounds, this shoyu-based ramen is simply topped with spinach and a few pieces of fried chicken. The soups flavor was enjoyably strong, but it was also a tad too oily. Perhaps it was the added oil from the karaage? The noodles were the exact same as above and not any more impressive.

The one thing that stood out the most was in fact the Karaage. I was shocked to see that it had held its crunch even after being submerged in the soup. Impressive! And oh yeah, the flavor of the Karaage was excellent!…though I’ll probably just order them as an appetizer next time.

Gyoza: Notably fresh, they weren’t as flavorful as one would expect. But dipping them in the tan-tan soup gives them a unique identity.

Overall, I would still prefer Shisen’s soup head-to-head, but let it be known that there’s a new Sichuan ramen-ya in town–a ramen-ya that can definitely hold it’s own weight!

Open Daily
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: 5pm-10pm

8 Replies to “Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo – Los Angeles, CA”

  1. Hey Brian. Thx for hitting up a Tokyo branch! Sounds like it’s a Ramenzakaya…haha. Tell you what, next time I’m in Tokyo we should hit one up and get drunk. The LA one has $1 beers during happy hour which aint bad either.

  2. Ate here last night (in Shinjuku, Tokyo). It was pretty damn good. One cool aspect is that you can order small sizes of everything. So you can get a small bowl of ramen, a small plate of mabodou, some gyoza, and some desert for cheap. Also, they had a whole separate drink menu, so this is a good place for drinks and snacks.

  3. I recently went to try the Ramen here and was very pleased by it (thank you rameniac). I had the Karaage Tan-Tan Men. Sooo good. Fried chicken and ramen should always go together. I look forward to going back and trying the Chin-Ma Han and other goodies. Great review.

  4. @Brian: I was conditioned to stay away from the major chain ramen-ya’s in Japan and that’s probably why I decided to skip it. But I can’t wait to read your review of one over there!@Exile Kiss: Dude, I know! What will it take! Maybe I’ll go work at Taishoken and try to bring it over here. Haha!

  5. Hi Keizo,Great review, and thanks for the heads-up about this new Ramen-ya! 🙂 If it’s part of the original Japanese chain, wow, that’s really nice that they’re making forays into the U.S. / L.A. 🙂 Now if we can only get a few more of the more famous Ramen-yas over here!

  6. Wow, I’ve pass by a few of these every week, but haven’t been yet. Ok, I’ll give it a go next time I have the chance-

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