123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
I ventured to Orochon Ramen to make a go at the Spicy #2 Challenge.
There was quite a line for a table when we got there, but it moved fairly quickly.
Although I knew I was going for the challenge, I took a moment to peruse the menu, which consists of various appetizers & sides on the right side of the menu and the 3 steps to order a noodle bowl.
Step 1: Choose a soup base (Miso, Salt Water, Soy Sauce)
Step 2: Choose Spice Level (1 – 7)
Step 3: Choose Extras or toppings
I went with the Spicy #2 (which is what the challenge is called despite the previously mentioned 7 spice level options), with a miso soup base, no extras.
My witness also went with a miso base, no extras but dared not try the challenge and went with spice level 4: Orochan.
The noodles came out surprisingly quick. Along with a sweeping hush of awe as other patrons got wind of the heat packed into my approaching bowl of fire.
The server started the clock and even gave me a 3 minute grace period. The first few gulps weren’t as bad as I expected but then all of a sudden I found my lips searing from the heat and my face drenched in sweat!
The Jalapeno peppers no longer welcomed colorful ingredients, but minature grenades awaiting to explode within me. The miso broth, which was at first delicate and fulfilling, now run over my tongue like sand. Despite this, I struggled though the majority of the bowl. At the very moment I was assured the broth had begun to eat my innards, I threw in the towel with about 3 cups of death remaining.
After about a gallon of milk and some ice cream, I can now subjectively look back at my meal. I found that the miso broth bland and quite grainy. The noodles were undercooked having a tough pasty texture. I would’ve given it a free pass this time considering the novelty nature of my meal, but my companion found his meal just as disappointing.
I will give Orochon another try eventually, but I have a feeling that Orochon’s popularity is based on the challenge and mystique location to non-locals as opposed to their food.