There are occasions when the canary manages to escape. They enter the coal mine, have a minor coughing fit, gather themselves, make a break for the surface, and afterwards enjoy a long and fruitful life. The canary in San Diego’s ramen mine was the Tajima ramen restaurant. When Sam Morikizono took over an already established restaurant on Convoy in 1994, the ramen restaurant business was an entirely untested and unproven gamble.
There is no way he had any intention of really serving it. Although ramen was extremely popular in Japan, few serious restaurateurs in the United States gave it much consideration. There was nothing special about Ramen other than its cherished plastic package in the bulk-food section (thanks to the legend, Momofuku Ando).
Establishment of Tajima Ramen Restaurant
Tajima Ramen served classic Japanese comfort food when I started there. Tempura, sushi, noodles, “Morizono explains. I had a large number of Japanese customers that frequented my establishment, and they would frequently ask me to prepare various dishes. Everything that was made was by me. One day, repeat customers asked me to prepare ramen for them. It wasn’t well known in the United States at the time, but I made it, and it became quite successful.
Morikizono was born and raised near Osaka, Japan, and moved to the United States after graduating from high school at the age of 19 to make a living as a cook. Kitchens in restaurants have traditionally played an important role in the production process. He claims, “I wanted to visit a different country,” as his reason for travelling. When I arrived, I didn’t plan to stay. It sucked.
service in San Diego.
When they opened a facility in San Diego, he relocated here to be the cook, despite the fact that he did not particularly enjoy living in Los Angeles. He had been working at Shogun restaurant in Los Angeles. After one year, the tajima ramen restaurant that was located down the street became available for purchase.
He says, “I have always had the ambition to run my own restaurant.” The fact that it was in such terrible shape was the only reason I was able to take advantage of the opportunity. In the beginning, I gave it my all in an effort to cook the best ramen, but the dish turned out either too greasy or too salty. In the end, all I did was try to strike a balance between the two. I didn’t want to give off the impression that it was too real. I aimed to create something flavorful and umami-rich that would appeal to both Asians and Caucasians.
Collection of First- and Second-Generation
It’s possible that was the missing piece. The collection of first- and second-generation Asian cooks at Convoy, who adhere to recipes obtained directly from their ancestors, is one of the factors that contribute to the restaurant’s attraction.
On the other hand, Morikizono catered to the tastes of both his homeland and his current location. Because of this, their spicy sesame ramen, which is really a spin on the traditional tantanmen ramen, which is itself a riff on Sichuan dan dan noodles, is a bowl of soup that is extremely satisfying to consume.
After twenty years, Morizikono is still operating, and tajima ramen has earned a reputation as one of the most acclaimed ramen restaurants in the area. They had the misfortune of opening their sixth San Diego site in College Heights (there are also two in Tijuana) on the same day that the city of San Diego began closing its indoor dining establishments for the first time.
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