Rachelle Liu and Kathleen Chen
Iki Ramen: Where Ramen Comes to Play
You might think you know ramen, but Iki Ramen might just prove you wrong. With its wide variety of ramens, small dishes, and modern sashimi, Iki Ramen offers guests a playful take on Japanese cuisine. Jeffry Undiarto, one of the co-founders of Iki Ramen and the General Manager of n/naka, shares all about what makes Iki Ramen special and how the unique eatery came to be.
Jeffry and his team opened Iki Ramen in December of 2018. The four team members are all culinary experts who joined forces to create something great. Jeffry’s childhood friend Sebastian Karyadi is also the owner of Ramen Nagomi in New Jersey and a former employee at Mori Sushi, Chef Hiroyuki Masato is the former owner of Poke Tendo, chef, and manager at sushi chain Sushi Mac, and Andy Juliady is the owner of a seafood company based in downtown LA.
Teamwork between the four founders is part of what sets Iki Ramen apart. Jeffry shares, “The four of us always contribute and help each other. We always group text everyday to share new ideas and new menus. Chef Hiro is always doing a great job to make sure our food is great and has good quality. Sebastian flew to LA every month and always worked closely with us for new ideas. Andy is also helping all around and making sure we have great seafood and produce.”
Jeffry, being n/naka’s general manager, also credits part of his journey to Chef Niki Nakayama and Chef Carole Nakayama, the chefs and owners of n/naka. Jeffry says, “Chef Niki Nakayama and Chef Carole Nakayama have always been supporting us and giving us input. They are very smart, very kind, and always share their ideas and their thoughts.”
Quality is at the heart of Iki Ramen, even if that means taking extra steps and doing things the harder way. The kitchen size at Iki Ramen is limiting, so they prepare small batches of their items everyday to keep things fresh. Jeffry and his team also make an effort to source the best ingredients, and use humanely raised, organic meats whenever possible. Chefs at Iki slowly braise Niman Ranch pork to make the pork stock and Jidori chicken is the basis of the chicken broth. “We are proud of all our menu items because we put so much effort into how we make it, and we are working very hard to source the best possible ingredients that we can use,” Jeffry says, “but at the same time, we also want it to be affordable.”
Iki Ramen is meant to be playful, fresh, and creative. Jeffry shares, “We want Iki to be playful and we keep trying and pushing ourselves to find new menus for our ramen and izakaya. Ramen and izakaya are almost like freestyle foods. There are so many different styles of ramen. Ramen and izakaya are really where we can express ourselves a little more. There are almost no boundaries to it.”
Iki Ramen is special not only for their flavors, but also because of the refined process they use to ensure the best quality and flavor for each guest. Jeffry says, “Every single ramen is made to order. Instead of keeping the broth boiling and scooping it out, we heat the broth every time we get an order. It takes longer but we believe the ramen’s better this way.” Ramen is never boring at Iki Ramen. Their wide variety of flavors and ramen styles means there is always something new to try. One of their most popular offerings is the Yuzu Shio which boasts a light, yet deep citrusy flavor. With the weather getting warmer in LA, you might not be craving hot soupy ramen. If that is the case, you will want to try Iki Ramen’s Sea Urchin Mazemen, a dry ramen variety.
Jeffry says, “We have many different variations of ramen styles from broth-less, bigger flavors such as burned garlic ramen or gentle and delicate ramen such as the Shio or wagyu ramen. We are proud of all of them, but if we had to choose one ramen, we would pick Iki Shio Ramen. It might not be a popular choice, but Iki shio ramen is something special for us at Iki. We can eat this ramen everyday, it's double soup stock with Jidori chicken bone broth and our house made dashi. With the Iki shio ramen, you can feel the work, technique and precision that goes into making this ramen broth. You'll taste the delicate savory flavors from our house made dashi and tasty chicken flavors from our Jidori chicken bone. The combination of the two creates something special for us here at Iki Ramen. Also there are not many shops in the area serving lighter bodied broth while also serving big flavorful ramen bowls, so this makes us different and makes Iki shio ramen something special for us here at Iki Ramen.”
Visit iki Ramen!
Address: 740 S Western Ave #116, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Website (order pick up/delivery): ikiramen.com
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