Happy Cup truck/trailer
Soup, in just about any of its scrumptious incarnations, is one of my “deserted island foods” (in addition to potatoes, grapes and a hot ‘n’ tasty individual who knows how to turn these gifts of gastronomy into my favorite alcoholic libations. Mmmm…alcoholic libations…). While the theory has never been tested, someone could wake me up at 3 in the morning and ask if I want to try some chowder and I would probably say yes. I bet I’d even do it without caffeine or one of those trusty grape or potato potations mentioned above. Man, I really love vodka soup.
When my pal Shevin, of the old VirtualTourist days (and current Foodie Fridays blog), suggested we reminisce about the bygone era over bowls of Happy Cup truck ramen, I instantly remembered why he was my favorite intern.
We met by the shiny new trucks as they sat, posing prettily, in front of the swanky office buildings on Wilshire Blvd. Turning down a side street, we left behind state-of-the-art mobile restaurants covered in bright graphics and lines for nouveau cuisine. In front of us was the worn and weary Happy Cup camper-turned-kitchen, attached to a sturdy workhorse of a pick-up truck, pouring its energy into generating enough electricity for heating giant pots of broth and bubbly comfort (similar to the amount of energy I don’t need, to write really long run-on sentences).
Happy Cup Truck white board menu
Shevin ordered his favorite stand-by, the Shoyu ramen (traditional Tokyo soy sauce soup base, with a slice of pork). I got the Tonkotsu ramen, which was described as “rich pork broth, thick and white, Southern Japan style.” All instincts to edit their menu descriptions aside, I ordered this soup because I was told it’s their specialty and only available on certain days. Thick, white, warm pork broth from southern areas should be reserved for only the most special of occasions.
Happy Cup Tonkotsu Ramen
Turns out the broth wasn’t terribly thick or white. It was, however, loaded with bean sprouts, green onion, diced mushroom and loads of perfectly cooked ramen noodles. The whole thing was topped with a single slice of roasted pork. The soup base was rich, balanced with soft, unfolding flavors of salt and umami.
Shevin’s soup was very similar, although his had added garlic and a different base. He described it as “perfectly well seasoned – not too salty, bland or watery,” and said it “hits the spot on a July gloom day.”
The only issue we took with our respective repasts was that the slice of pork – a solitary bit of meat awash in a sea of noodles – was small and very fatty. The oven-roasted flavor was excellent, but we felt like the protein portion should’ve been bigger, especially since so much meat was lost to fat.
Shevin’s soup cost him $5.50, and mine was a dollar more. That’s a great price for a big bowl of soup, although I do think that – compared to some of the other authentic ramen places around – we should’ve gotten more soup for the money. But I’m not really complaining.
In fact, my noodly bowl of pork broth goodness made me very, very happy. Have I mentioned how much I love soup?