A hidden gem, called Yoshiharu Ramen, lies 1.5 miles from campus in a shopping center off Laurel Avenue. Fairy lights are strung across the red clay awning, combined with exposed stone walls and an adorable pig mascot drawing your eye to the restaurant. Inside, the pleasant smell of savory umami reminds you exactly what you came for.
When most Americans think of ramen, they think of the instant variety. The low-maintenance option might remind them of college — images of packets collecting dust in the back of their dorm room or times of hardship. When they desperately added free condiment packages to try to add variety to the same boring soup when they, sadly, could not afford much else.
Regardless, most Americans do not think of ramen as something exciting and delicious. However, fresh, delicious ramen noodles served in a bowl with a pork-based broth and delicious toppings like soft-boiled eggs; thick, fatty pork slices; bamboo shoots; fish cake; and much more has been a staple in Japan since the 1800s.
Yoshiharu opened its first location in Orange, California, but has since expanded to five different locations. They specialize in authentic Japanese Hokkaido-style ramen, boiling the broth for fourteen hours to get their signature rich flavor. The head chef is from Japan, and has over twelve years of experience making traditional ramen. According to Yoshiharu’s marketing manager, Grace Lee, their mission is “to provide a meal that is tasty, exciting, and affordable to [their] customers.”
They serve six types of reasonably priced ramen, ranging from $8.95 – $10.45, and all are delicious. My personal favorite happens to be the “Tonkotsu Black Ramen”, named after the black garlic oil added to the broth.
Yoshiharu even provides a plant-based ramen option with either regular or kale noodles along with an assortment of vegetable toppings. Second-year Sarah Morgan raved about it. “It’s probably one of the better veggie broths I’ve had . . . It has a very good flavor profile. It even beats some of the bone broths I’ve had before,” said Morgan. Most people who do not eat meat understand how hard it is to find delicious options in restaurants, but Yoshiharu’s veggie option is just as tasty and filling as the rest of their ramen. They also offer a 15% discount to Whittier College student, so make sure to bring your student I.D. with you.
For Whittier College students looking for more professional opinions, Yoshiharu was rated “Top Ramen Noodle Restaurant” in the O.C. Weekly last year and has attracted customers like the social media influencer Instagram account @hungryinwhittier who hosted their Spicy Ramen Eating Contest at their Whittier City, on Aug. 25. If ramen is not what customers want for dinner, they also offer an ssortment of reasonably priced appetizers, sushi rolls, and rice bowls. Customers are able to get an entire pot of hot tea, grilled gyoza, and a massive bowl of ramen for less than $15 before tax and tip. Finding food that is affordable, delicious, and nutritious can be a challenge for college students, but Yoshiharu’s food checks off all of those categories. Yoshiharu Ramen will be hosting a 21+ live DJ event on Sept. 29, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a valid government I.D.