Tsukemen is a type of ramen that enables one to savor the flavors of both the noodles and soup. Tokyo is a battleground of tsukemen restaurants, and here are five unique restaurants that are often picked up by online media.
1. Menya Sho
First, you should try the specialty menu item that the restaurant recommends, the salt-based ramen made with chicken broth (790 JPY (incl. tax)). The chicken tsukemen (790 JPY (incl. tax)) made with plenty of free-range chicken, is popular. It is a dish that challenges the standard expectations of tsukemen. It comes with thin menma bamboo shoots, lemon, two types of char siu (chicken breast and pork), and the dipping sauces are so rich and creamy that a coat forms on top. Apparently, they use mayonnaise and Thai fish fish sauce as hidden ingredients. There is plenty of meat so it feels like a good deal. It is served with garlic chips sprinkled on top. There is the main restaurant in Nishi-Shinjuku, and a branch in Shinagawa. (There are differences in the menu between the two restaurants.)
2. Kotoha Piano Man
This is a tsukemen and ramen shop in Shibuya with an unusual name. It is a tsukemen/ramen shop at lunch, and becomes an izakaya in the evening. The karei tsukemen (690 JPY) is a simple tsukemen of noodles and curry, and the special karei tsukemen (950 JPY) comes with toppings of roast pork, egg, and naruto fish paste. ("Karei" means "splendid.") The basil karei tsukemen (790 JPY)"comes with pesto on the noodles, and the special basil karei tsukemen (1,050 JPY) comes with the previously-mentioned toppings. The dipping sauce is a steaming hot and spicy curry served in a pot. This curry is very good, so the tsukemen is popular. The restaurant has a wide selection of lunch items including the tsukemen and ramen, as well as bowls and sets.
3. Tsukemen Enji
This is the original vegipota (soup with vegetable paste) tsukemen shop located in Kichijoji. It is said that "tsukemen is a ramen for enjoying the noodles" and that you get a different impression depending on the noodle. This restaurant is credited with introducing a style where customers can choose from four different types of noodles. The vegipota tsukemen (800 JPY (incl. tax)) comes with an extremely thick soup made by simmering pork and chicken bones for several hours and adding an original vegetable paste to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables. The noodle is a straight noodle made with wheat germ (the part that germinates to grow into a plant). The noodles with the strong fragrance of wheat and the super thick soup make for a very satisfying dish!
4. Tsukemen TETSU
This is a tsukemen shop in Sendagi. It purports to have ignited the current tsukemen boom, and is proud of its "perfect soup that has no comparison." Its flavors are concentrated by combining stock from fish, pork thigh bone, and chicken. The noodles are made using their original TETSU flour made with a mixture of udon noodle flour and bread flour, so the noodles have a chewy texture. If you like, you can have the soup that has cooled down reheated with a hot rock. This is a welcome service that enables you to enjoy your soup hot until you finish. There are 21 branches, primarily in Tokyo.
This is a long-established, iconic tsukemen restaurant in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo. One of the tsukemen, zaru (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)) comes with fresh, homemade flat noodles that have the chewiness of udon noodles. It is served with a generous sprinkle of nori on top. The dipping sauce is soy sauce based and has an acidic flavor with accents of shichimi spice. It also comes with an abundance of char siu pork, large cuts of menma bamboo shoots, and green onions. Their specialty, the natto zaru (1,150 JPY (incl. tax)), has a smooth texture with natto (fermented soy beans) and raw egg in the dipping sauce, and a novel flavor with the addition of a yuzu citrus accent. The large pieces of char siu pork in it make it a satisfying dish.
Tsukemen is extremely popular in Tokyo now, so much so that in 2015, a large Tsukemen Expo was held to commemorate sixty years since its invention. It is so popular that it was victorious in the tsukemen vs. ramen competition at the expo. Please try this popular dish that remains a hit in Japan.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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