Ramen Hayatemaru (Revisitings)
I (generally) devote a single post to my first visit to a new place (e.g., most recently Gjelina, Littlefork, Pizzeria Mozza) or for great individual meals at familiar haunts (e.g., Shunji, Kiriko), but I have a rotation of places I like to visit regularly that I haven’t posted on recently. So I will be working my way through some of these places in a series of posts I’m calling “Revisitings”. This first entry is on Ramen Hayatemaru in West L.A.
According to my “records” I have been to Ramen Hayatemaru (Official, Facebook) over 20 times. Is it my favorite ramen-ya? No, that honor goes to Tsujita ANNEX, but what keeps me going back are two main factors: convenience and cost.
On convenience, while Hayatemaru’s parking lot is small, and nearly half the spots are reserved either for the 7-Eleven or the dry cleaners that share the strip mall, there is almost never a wait there, unlike at Tsujita ANNEX (or the original Tsujita across the street at lunch). On cost, Hayatemaru offers half bowls of ramen starting at $5, and their best regular side dishes (gyoza, zangi, amazu) are all priced at $3.90. It is cash only, but one could have a feast for $10!
Of their regular sides, the Amazu is “amazu-ing!” The fried chicken chunks are not too heavily breaded and are crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The sauce is like ponzu but with more sweet and sour flavor. The pun at the beginning of this paragraph may have been terrible, but this dish is terrific!
One other thing that I like about Hayatemaru is that they have been expanding their menu, bringing in seasonal items like cold noodle dishes and adding to their side offerings with chicken wings, egg omelets, fried chicken skin, and more. One of my favorite new items is the Ebiton, which debuted at the Ramen Yokocho Fest in September.
The Ebiton is still a pork-based ramen, but infused with shrimp flavor. It comes with half an egg, either hard or soft boiled depending on your preference, and it is topped with minced dried shrimp and ground pork and two small fried shrimp that you can eat whole, shell and all.
The Ebiton is $9 and unfortunately does not come in half sizes. It’s a little oilier than their other ramen offerings but is still very good! It’s the only ramen I order now at Hayatemaru!
All photographs © 2013 The Offalo