Enjoy Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki at Chinchikurin in Los Angeles.
Sawtelle Blvd is a Little Tokyo annex that only some are fortunate to know about. Since it was my high school hot spot for dining and hanging out, I am lucky to be familiar with most restaurants on the street. However, I never had the chance to try Chinchikurin, and I am so glad I finally did! Upon walking up, there were a few people standing in line to add their names to the waitlist. The wait times on Sawtelle range from 15 minutes to an hour, and fortunately the wait at Chinchikurin was on the shorter side. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, and after about 15 minutes of waiting, we scored a great table for the four of us right inside by the entrance.
For drinks, I ordered green tea, my cousin got barley tea, and our friends got a Diet Coke and Lemonade. To share, we ordered the classic okonomiyaki and the GOAM! okonomiyaki. This style okonomiyaki comes from Hiroshima, and generally contains about 11 layers of various types of veggies, proteins, and carbs, with a few layers to add flavoring. The famous Otafuku sauce is what brings all the flavoring together. This Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki uses more cabbage than the more widely known Osaka-style okonomiyaki, as well as has a layer of grilled noodles. You are to eat this dish with a “hera,” which is essentially a Japanese miniature spatula, and it’s perfect for slicing through all the layers. The classic okonomiyaki consists of batter, dried fish powder, cabbage, tempura crisps, green onions, bean sprouts, pork, noodles (we got them soft for this one), an egg, Otafuku sauce, and seaweed sprinkle to top it off.
The GOAM! okonomiyaki we ordered is a favorite among the younger generation in Hiroshima. Green onions and Japanese mayo are the key added ingredients in the GOAM! okonomiyaki perfectly complimenting the flavors of the classic ingredients. Of the two we ordered I prefer this one because of the added flavor. This was my first time ever trying okonomiyaki, and I was extremely impressed with how the flavor persisted in each layer. For our mains, we all ordered Tan Tan Men Ramen which was some of the best ramen I have ever had. The broth alone was absolute perfection from the flavoring to the consistency. Tan Tan Ramen traditionally has a peanut butter addition to the broth which is what makes it so flavorful and different from regular ramen broths. The pork made the broth extra salty too, which I really enjoyed and appreciated. There was the perfect amount of noodles too. I will certainly be going back for this ramen sometime soon! I am already thinking about it!!
The staff was very friendly and accommodating. Although they were pretty busy, the food came out in a fair amount of time. If you are in a group, I definitely recommend dropping someone off to put your name down while you find parking. Parking is definitely the low point of the Sawtelle experience just because it is so limited. Chinchikurin is great for a group of friends out for an adventurous and inexpensive meal. This first-time okonomiyaki eating for me and the first time our friends ever dined on Sawtelle made for a fun and successful night for our group! I will definitely be going back sometime soon to reorder the Tan Tan Ramen and to try another one of the okonomiyaki dishes.