Chen Chows Chuan Ma Noodle House; Gold Ponders The Japanese Food Court

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Fierce! Photo: Tony Chen/SinoSoul

Noting its flailings with the health department, troubling translations, and at least one distressed diner, SinoSoul's Tony Chen says that nothing can keep him from Chuan Ma Noodle's House's Szechuan cuisine, specializing in "thickset knife cut noodles in fierce broth" that "uses 6 spices instead of 5." A $15 feast might include "belligerent wontons marinated in that trifecta of sweet/sour/spice, cauldrons of fish, or offals, simmering in Sichuan soup bases, beautifully fried chitlin (tastier than JTYH's), and spicy sausages that will make Calabrian sausages cry 'uncle.'" [SinoSoul]

Jonathan Gold revels in the joys of authentic snack havens in our Japanese supermarkets "frequented by customers who know how Japanese food is supposed to taste." Making sure not "to overstate things here," he calls the tendon at Hannosuke in Mitsuwa "a less than overwhelming sight" that "tends to lack the crispness, the featherweight crunch that it might have if it were served piece by piece at a tempura bar." But soon he's charmed by the bowl's aesthetic, finding "the roasty, nutty flavors of the sesame oil used for frying and the inner sweetness of the food really come through." Over at Ramen Iroha at Gardena's Marukai, Gold finds the black ramen "shifts flavors as you eat, one moment picking up richness from the roast pork bobbing in the broth, the next a kind of marine flavor from the bits of seaweed." In no time flat, he mourns that "the ramen is done; the bottom of the bowl shining white through the dregs." [LAT]

Garret Snyder hits Chapman Plaza's new Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Koreatown, dropping an early reference to "Gangham-style" between poses with cardboard cutouts of the owner. Packed to the rafters, he calls it "a better lit, less claustrophobic version of Korean dive bars like Dwit Gol Mok and Dan Sung Sa," noting its ability to pair quality meats at an acceptable price. "Best might be the tender slabs of unseasoned pork short rib, which are boneless dwaeji galbi essentially, or the pork belly shaved thin and tossed in a spicy sauce that the waitress takes back to the kitchen to be cooked for you," among other servers who are "handy enough with the meat-shearing scissors to suggest the management might be hiring former seamstresses." [LAW]