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Japan’s Most Famous Ramen Chef Opens Restaurant


Famed Japanese chef Toshimasa Sano opens his first ramen restaurant in Buena Park today! Chef Sano was trained at Tsujita in Tokyo, a beloved artisan ramen brand with a buzzing sister restaurant in Los Angeles, which was described in 2017 as the king of tonkotsu ramen in Los Angeles” by the late food critic Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times.

After 10 years of training at Tsujita in Tokyo, Sano was inspired to open his own ramen shop, named “RAMEN & TSUKEMEN道 TAO,” and he is especially excited to introduce Americans to ramen dishes with miso broth, Tsujita’s specialty.

Sano’s menu includes four kinds of ramen noodles: White Miso Ramen, Red Miso Ramen, Tonkotsu Ramen, and Tsukemen dipping noodles, along with two kinds of pork buns and steamed white rice as side dishes. Toppings include Ajitama (soft-boiled eggs), Menma (marinated bamboo shoots), green onions, char-siu (roasted pork), nori and vegetables.

“I was trained at Tsujita ramen shops in Tokyo that specialize in miso ramen and tsukemen, and since miso ramen is not rooted in the U.S. yet, I’d love to introduce ramen with miso flavors to many Americans,” said Sano. “White Miso Ramen originated in Hokkaido, Japan, which is well-known for its rich food culture, and Red Miso Ramen is popular in Tokyo today.” 

“I came to California to serve carefully crafted Japanese ramen with an intense broth that takes 40 hours to prepare, pairing it with selected fresh noodles from Kobayashi Seimen, a noodle brand originally from Hokkaido. I’m proud of my menu with quality Japanese ramen full of energy to satisfy the palate of the most discerning foodies in Orange Country, and I hope that my ramen would be loved by local residents.”

Tonkotsu ramen with its creamy, pork-based broth (originally from Fukuoka City in Southern Japan) has become a favorite among ramen lovers in the U.S., and Chef Sano uses a flavorful broth with a soy-sauce base that’s popular in Tokyo. Tsukemen, known as the dipping ramen, is served with the noodles arriving alongside the bowl of soup, allowing diners to dip them in, and Sano’s version comes with miso-based broth. Sano also will serve soft drinks and plans on serving alcohol beverages later this year.

As a welcome to Buena Park residents, Sano will offer 100 bowls of ramen noodles free of charge, 50 bowls for lunch and another 50 for dinner, to those who follow the restaurant’s Instagram page, on Tuesday, September 3 only.

The restaurant has 16 seats and will be open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch will be served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner 5 p.m.-11 p.m. 

RAMEN & TSUKEMEN 道TAO restaurant is at 10488, Valley View St., in Buena Park. 714.236.5055.

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