Daiboku Ramen Cements Place Amongst West Campus Eats

It’s the Sunday night before the fall semester at the University of Texas at Austin. Campus is brimming with wide-eyed students nervous and eager to start the school year. Ramen restaurants are a much desired commodity on college campuses, and UT is no exception. Walking into Daiboku, students and other customers are sitting across the bar counter space and the numerous long table settings in place. Vibrant banners are stretched across the bar space which gives a peek into the inner workings of the kitchen. Black modern light fixtures provide a light glow in the dining area. 

Ramen, a popular Japanese noodle, has attained international stardom, in both its sit-down restaurant form and in its instant noodle iteration. Influenced by a form of noodles originating in China, ramen has had a long history of alteration to reach the beloved comfort food we know today. Typically paired with pork or chicken, ramen exists within a kaleidoscope of variation, and new restaurants are crafting their own takes on this classic.   

Opening up in May of this year, Daiboku joined the growing force of West Campus restaurants. Daiboku is under the direction and management of the team behind the well-known ramen spot Sazan. Encapsulating the classics, Daiboku adds its own flair to their dishes such as a junk style option for their Jirokei Miso. A merger of traditional and new style is seen on their menu, in a way that mirrors Austin’s food scene, which can be described as multicultural with an inventive spin. 

Starters

Providing a myriad of options for starters, I initially selected the three-piece Daiboku wings plate. An immaculate crispy exterior is complimented by a tender interior. Flakes of salt coat the batter, and the flavor of lemon strikes a bright chord. A slice of lemon is additionally placed on the side, and kewpie mayo decorated with sesame and chili flakes serves as a delectable dipping sauce for the wings. The edamame dish is another lovely starter for fans of a bit of spice, but the chili flakes are an optional addition.

The Daiboku wings elegantly balance spice and the sweetness of lemon. 

Main Dishes

Choosing between the shoyu or miso based broths, I first tried the Smoked Chicken Shoyu by recommendation of the staff. The broth is comforting and soothing, exuding umami and drizzled with scallions. A creamy Ajitama egg adds another texture profile, and paired with their house made kosho and mushroom soboro, elevates an already delicious broth composition. The kosho is tangy, and placed on the cuts of chicken, defines contrast that accentuates both ingredients. The noodles form a bed upon which the chicken chashu rests. The chicken is light and luscious, and a generous portion is served in the dish. Opting to add a spicy bomb with layu, another variable provides generous complexity.

The Smoked Chicken Shoyu ramen features a jammy egg and a calming broth.

I tried the Jirokei Miso next, which is served with thick noodles that form a tapestry under the pork chashu and segments of pork fat. A chicken and pork duo make up the broth while miso introduces a full-bellied warmth. Fans of a heavier broth should try this plate. Dressed with beansprouts, cabbage, and garlic pieces, this Miso is a perfect tonic for cold weather or can serve as a hearty meal after a long day of classes.

The lively yet cozy atmosphere and a quality menu makes Daiboku a must-try spot in West Campus, and extends beyond to serve as a quintessential restaurant for all of Austin’s ramen-loving community.

609 W 29th St, Austin, TX 78705

(512) 350-2789

Instagram: @daibokuramen

Hours of operation: 

11:30 AM – 9 PM, every day

Cover image courtesy of Daiboku 

Keana Saberi

With an emphasis on community storytelling, Keana Saberi is a sophomore journalism student in the Moody College Honors program at the University of Texas. Her journalism focuses on Austin-based coverage, specifically chronicling the stories of creatives and activists throughout the city. Her narrative poetry encapsulates heritage and identity, and she has work published in Assembly, a Malala Fund publication, and through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is also a member of Silk Club, a literary magazine at UT, and a producer at The Drag Audio Production House.