I was driving down the 405 freeway this afternoon when suddenly a huge ramen craving came over me. It must have been the Torrance air because as soon as a glanced up at the freeway sign, Western Avenue was only a mile away. That’s when I knew I was destined to exit. I’ve been wanting to check out Men-Bei for quite a while now and this was the perfect opportunity. Located in the same shopping center as Musha, Men-Bei has a similar ambiance to most ramen-ya’s you’ll find around Southern California, including that loud-mouth Japanese business man who thinks the restaurant should revolve around him.
Shoyu-ramen: At first sip, I frowned. At second sip, I crinkled my forehead. From then on, I was happy. I guess it just caught me off guard. I’m not sure why, but I ended up really enjoying the flavor of the soup. The noodles were also very good. Cooked slightly too long, I still savored the straight, chewy texture. The toppings (egg, spinach, moyashi, chashu, and negi) were just average. The chashu had an interesting sweetness, but this didn’t overcome its dryness. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to go back and try the dozen other ramen on the menu!
Chahan: It’s a good thing I’m not a presentation freak. Otherwise this chahan would have made me go ballistic. Despite the orange tint and the someone-took-everyone’s-leftovers-and-put-them-on-my-plate look, this chahan was surprisingly tasty. I wouldn’t call it the best (not even close), but it still did the trick and satisfied my hunger.