Jidaiya | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Jidaiya

photo by Amy Scattergood

The South Bay has been the home to a large population of Japanese and Japanese-Americans for decades, even more so after several of the major Japanese automakers moved their operations into the area. Thus there are more solid ramen options per square mile in the area than in most any other place in the country, with Jidaiya being among the best of them. This would be the ramen shop located in a plaza just off the 405, a place that looks like the sort of roadside restaurant that Tampopo may have had if she’d had the luxury of space. Inside, you’ll walk past a corner dedicated to old-school Japanese candies and trinkets and sit down to enjoy Jidaiya’s wonderful tonkotsu and miso ramen; its tsukemen is stellar, too. And if you order the UFO Dumplings out of sheer curiosity, you will be rewarded with half a dozen gyoza, pan-fried together so they fuse and form a crust of sorts, then flipped over onto a plate as you might a pineapple upside-down cake. Reasonable minds and FBI agents may differ on whether this looks like a UFO. That it’s pretty awesome, though, is a fact upon which we all can agree. —Tien Nguyen