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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

Last year, a high school friend and I were attempting to meet up for some good eats. He recommended tiny udon place to me someone had recommended to him but that he had never been to. When we got there, sadly, it was closed, as it is every Monday. I tried again a week later, only to come to a sign that said the restaurant would be closed for a few weeks for something family related. Finally, a month or so later, luck was on my side and I got to try this udon, and boy am I glad persistence paid off in this case.
The place is called Oumi Sasaya (good luck with the all Japanese website) and it’s in Lomita, on Lomita Blvd. It’s tucked away in one of a few tiny strip malls filled with yummy Japanese food, with an unassuming exterior that might be hard for people unfamiliar to the Japanese language to find, as the name is written only in hiragana.

Good thing I took three years of Japanese in high school, right?

The first indicator that this place is good is the amount of Japanese-speaking Japanese people that always gather here for dinner. Any restaurant that can draw people who actually know the food must be good. Plus, all the workers barely speak English. Also a very good sign.

Secondly, there’s always a wait. If you get there early enough, the wait is minimal (around 15 minutes), or you can sometimes snag a spot at the noodle bar if you’re alone or with a small group.

Finally, this summer, this little place finally got some recognition. My mom tells me (although I didn’t personally read the article) that Oumi Sasaya was written up in the LA Times. And so the lines grow…

The first page of the menu (I think they judge you at the door and determine whether you need the English menu or the Japanese one) tells the story of the restaurant, how the current proprietor is using his father’s recipes that were learned in Japan. The style of cooking is different than conventional udon, or something like that, but all I know is that it’s darn tasty.

At any rate, this is definitely one of my more recent favorite spots. I always get a combo dinner–a half-size bowl of their delicious udon in hot broth (although they offer it hot/cold on a plate as well) and a bowl of oyakodon, chicken and egg over rice. If you’re a fan of oyakodon though, be warned, this is not the same oyakodon you’re used to. It’s infinitely better, in fact. The chicken is fried, almost tempura style, and the egg is cooked perfectly with a sweet sauce. This stomach and tastebud busting meal will come out to around $15 including tax and tip–not bad for some of the best Japanese food you’ll find in the south bay. They also offer shabu shabu, which I have yet to try at this place, and I doubt I will be trying any time soon, as I am more than content with my regular order.

So if you’ve got a hankering for some grade-A Japanese food, head over to Lomita and keep an eye out for Oumi Sasaya. You will not be disappointed.

PS: forgive the quality of the pictures; I happened to be playing around with my “new” N80 film camera the day I ate here


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