Just across Commonwealth Ave, on the quiet side of Downtown Fullerton, is Kopan Ramen, a casual restaurant serving up delicious bowls of pork, chicken, and veggie ramen cooked in a broth stewed for 16 hours.
Along with ramen, Kopan Ramen serves up sides including takoyaki, gyoza, fried squid legs, sesame chicken, and baby octopus which pairs well with a cold beer or hot sake.
I really enjoyed the interior design and decor of Kopan Ramen. It was minimal and casual yet modern and inviting.
The lighting in the restaurant was dim while the walls, tables, and ceiling were painted dark black giving the restaurant an intimate and cozy feeling. At the same time, the long, narrow, and open dining room was packed with boisterous groups and couples enjoying ramen and drinks.
The interior might be dim at night, but during the day, the restaurant is bright thanks in part to the many windows allowing in plenty of natural light.
I also enjoyed the bench style seats and tables which fit in well for a ramen place. The only downside was the placement of the tables, packed so close together that you could hear the conversations of the diners around you.
The dining room was also designed with tacky Christmas lights along with cool hanging lanterns, Samurai dolls, and retro Japanese posters of drinking Geisha.
The two sided menu was straightforward with four types of ramen with pork, chicken, and a vegetarian option for those who don’t eat meat.
You can also order an assortment of additional toppings for your ramen including red ginger, bamboo, corn, garlic, fried garlic & onion, bean sprouts, spinach, extra noodles, and extra proteins.
I recommend ordering the regular bowl of ramen over the small bowl. The regular bowl can be shared with two people, but its size was better suited for one person.
If ramen isn’t your thing or you want to explore the menu a little deeper, then you can add on an appetizer or a side.
Kopan Ramen also offers lunch combo specials and special combos with any ramen or appetizer and a beer for $2 more.
Chicken Breast Ramen
When you order a bowl of ramen at Kopan Ramen, you first choose the size of the bowl (small or regular), then the spicy level (non-spicy, mild, spicy, or super spicy), and finally the type (chashu pork belly, fatty pork, chicken breast, or veggie).
I usually find myself ordering pork ramen, but today I decided to be adventurous and try out the super spicy, regular sized Chicken Breast Ramen ($9.00). On the side, I added a soft boiled egg ($1) and crunchy fried onion & garlic ($1).
When the ramen arrived at my table, the first thing that I noticed was the deep brown color of the broth. It looked truly delicious before I even picked up my spoon. According to the menu, the pork bone based soup broth was boiled for 16 hours for richness and taste.
On first taste, the broth did not disappoint. It was rich with the perfect consistency, was seasoned perfectly without being too salty, and featured multiple layers of flavors thanks in part to the pork bone broth and chicken. As with most ramen, the closer you get to the bottom of the bowl, the thicker, richer, and fattier the broth gets.
On the down side, the ramen was not spicy at all, even after ordering it super spicy. The server told me that super spicy was actually really spicy, but he was obviously mistaken.
In the center of the bowl, just below the fresh and crunchy green onions, was a few thin slices of chicken breast. The chicken was surprisingly juicy and moist and left me wanting more. On the side of the bowl was a large piece of dried seaweed that added salty flavors to the dish but was awkwardly too large to eat. For added texture, I sprinkled the fried onion & garlic over the soup which added a nice crunch.
Last but not least, the noodles. Depending on your preferences, you will either love or hate them. The Chicken Breast Ramen noodles were slightly under cooked which left them quite chewey compared to other noodles you might be familiar with. For me, I prefered the noodles to be chewy which, in my opinion, added a great texture to the soup.
The service was extremely disappointing.
When I first sat down at the table, I was greeted with a menu and immediately ordered a drink. A few minutes later, I ordered the ramen along with a side of vegetable gyoza, as recommended by the server. The ramen arrived, and that was the last contact I made with any server during the meal. The gyoza never arrived.
Not once did a server come by and ask how the food was or if I needed anything else. Not once was I offered a second drink or my water refilled.
After eating half of the ramen, I gave up on the gyoza and just hoped they didn’t charge me for it. A few minutes later, the bill was placed on my table without a word being said by the server. No thank you, no eye contact. Absolutely nothing.
I don’t understand the horrible service, as I would have ordered more drinks and food, increasing the servers tip.
I’m definitely not a ramen expert, but the food served at Kopan Ramen, that I actually tasted, impressed me. The ramen was rich and delicious with layers of pork and chicken flavors. I just wish the ramen was spicy, especially after ordering super spicy.
As for the service, it definitely needs improvement. Hopefully on your visit, you will receive better service, otherwise the food was great.
- Ramen broth was rich and flavorful
- Chicken breast was moist and juicy
- Casual yet modern interior
- Lunch and special combos
- Service was lacking and unfriendly
- No American Express accepted
- Super spicy ramen was anything but spicy