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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ton-Chan Ramen - San Gabriel (Closed)

Last February, shortly after Ton Chan Ramen opened I went to check it out with Tony of SinoSoul, who said the restaurant featured the milky tonkotsu-style broth that so many people in SoCal seem to prefer.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 1

Ton Chan Ramen is housed in what used to be Aji Man Japanese Restaurant, which closed just short of its three-year anniversary. :( In looking up other ramen restaurants I've posted, I discovered Kappa Ramen - Anaheim is now closed as well. Seems like only the ramen chains are weathering the economic storm, or I need to try more mom-and-pop ramen restaurants.

 I went with the basic Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen with black garlic oil, per Tony's suggestion. While at it, I figured I'd throw in gyozas and a pork bowl that I'd eat the leftovers later.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 2

The shio features straight, thin noodles, $8.25.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 3

Yummy porkiness. I thought the broth was pretty good, milky and porky. The black garlic oil gave it a very nice charred contrast.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 4

Still, my siblings and I prefer Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl - Los Angeles (Little Tokyo)'s tonkotsu broth best. Actually, both my siblings, after traveling to Japan and eating the ramen there, said they preferred Daikokuya.

The chashu bowl, an extra $2.25 as part of my combo. It was fine, but not incredibly tender like Daikokuya's pork.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 5

And a side order of gyozas.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 6

Satisfied my craving.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 7

Free mango pudding for dessert.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 8

When Gourmet Pigs came back to town from the holidays abroad, we decided on dinner here so I could try another ramen.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 9

This time I ordered the Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce Ramen), $8.25.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 10

The shoyu broth comes with thick curly noodles, which I liked much better.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 11

A shot of Gourmet Pigs' shio broth with straight, thin noodles for comparison.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 12

Without the addition of the black garlic oil, I felt like the broth was too muted. My first visit was better.

Again, free mango pudding for dessert.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 13

Lunch is cheaper at $7.25 a bowl, or get the specials for $8.95 which includes ramen and a choice of Spam musubi, curry bowl, chashu bowl, or a half order of fried rice.

At the same price point and same distance as Daikokuya, I always gravitate there instead. But for a non-chain option, even mini-chains, Ton-Chan Ramen will do.

It's right next door to Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant - San Gabriel, so be warned that finding a parking spot at peak mealtimes can be difficult.

December 1, 2013 update: Ton-Chan Ramen is now closed.

My other ramen posts:
Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl - Los Angeles (Little Tokyo)
Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl - Monterey Park
Santouka - Costa Mesa
Santouka - Los Angeles
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen - Gardena
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen - Rosemead

Ton Chan Ramen
821 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

1 year ago today, musings on vanilla ice cream with chocolate revels.
2 years ago today, Best of: Top 11 to 20 Recipes of 2007.
3 years ago today, one of my most popular recipes -- Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew).
4 years ago today, Banh Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp and Yam Fritters).


  1. Ooooh that looks good! Also, laughing at the name "Ton-chan" because that is so cute. I miss restaurant ramen! London has a few, but none of them are very good.

  2. Dragonkiri,
    Oh? What does ton-chan mean? I liked Wagamama when I lived in London.

  3. "Ton" means pork! (Tonkatsu = "pork cutlet" and tonkotsu = "pork bone".) The -chan part is the common dimunitive you use for babies, children, cute things, close friends, etc. So the restaurant's name and mascot is the piggy!

    Wagamama isn't bad, but if you want a good tonkotsu broth and char siu it is not the place to go. :( I was spoiled living in the SF Bay Area!

  4. Dragonkiri,
    I knew the ton part, didn't know the chan. Nice to know.

    Yeah, I didn't "get" ramen until I tried Daikokuya's. Wagamama's isn't the same, but it was the only place I liked for Asian food. I hit up a few mom and pop Chinese takeaways here and there, but those weren't memorable.

    I remember liking the Prix Fix and Pierre Victoire bistros for affordable French food if you haven't been. Both locations are on Dean Street, 2-courses for 12 pounds, and 3-courses for 15 pounds. Even just ordering a plate of steamed veggies with aioli was tasty. Well, if it's still good. It's been a decade since I've been!


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