What Is Tsukemen? The Best Ramen That No One Knows

What is tsukemen?

Tsukemen literally translates to “dipping ramen” in English.

Tsukemen is a type of ramen in which the noodle is eaten after dipping it in a separate ramen broth, much like soba noodles.

The noodle is typically coated with oil and served cold while the broth is hot. This helps give the noodle a hot outer layer and a springy, al dente chewiness in the middle.

Noodle in a regular ramen bowl tastes uniformly the same. However, each tsukemen noodle tastes different depending on how long you dunk it in the soup.

To eat tsukemen, you take a couple of noodle and mop it around the soup. Once you coat it with the desired amount, you can proceed to slurp it happily.

Each restaurant serves the dish differently depending on the chef.

In most cases, tsukemen usually comes with spring onions, bokchoy, a hard boiled egg, naruto (spiral-shaped fish cake), and a slice of char siu (grilled pork belly).

The perfect broth

Making the broth is essentially a labor of love.

The broth is made by boiling cow bones and other ingredients and cross fusing them with all kinds of different vegetable stocks. This process can take anywhere between 24 hours to two days.

The wait is so worth it because the broth ends up tasting something between a ramen broth and a rich hearty soup.

If you’re a ramen purist, then a bowl of tsukemen might just change your mind.

Eating Tsukemen at Menya Sandaime

If you’re ever in Busan, South Korea, then you have to try the tsukemen at Menya Sandaime, a popular Japanese ramen chain restaurant. You can also find a Menya restaurant in America as well.

We went to the Menya Sandaime located in Seomyeon, Busan, which is a 10 minute walk from the Seomyeon subway station near exit 2.

As soon as we entered, we were greeted with a friendly “irasshaimase” and got our temperatures checked as well.

At every Menya restaurant, you’ll hear non-Japanese staff talking in Japanese frequently.

That’s because they want to make the restaurant feel as authentically Japanese as possible.

The wait for the tsukemen took about 10 minutes in total.

Since tsukemen noodle is thicker than ordinary ramen noodle, it takes about 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat to achieve a springy texture.

The verdict on the noodle

This was one of the best tsukemen that I’ve ever had. First of all, the broth was the perfect blend between salty, fatty, and spicy.

It was a bit spicier than usual, sort of like a spicy miso ramen, but it was fine for me. If you can’t handle the heat, you can ask the waiter to serve it a bit milder.

On the first sip, you can taste the complex and incredible ingredients that went into making this broth. The taste of pork and beef stuck out to me the most.

The broth also contained chunks of pork meat and slices of onions, sort of like a French onion soup a la Japanese style.

Since the noodle is served cold, it’s best to eat it fast compared to your general ramen bowl. Otherwise, the noodle and the broth will get too cold and won’t taste the same.

The total price including the tsukemen, ramen, and drink came out to 18,000 won, or about $15.69.

Name: Menya Sandaime
Address: 부산광역시 부산진구 부전2동 중앙대로680번길 45
Map: Click Here
Price: (Tsukemen) 8,500 Won ~ $7.42

Originally published at https://peekingbuddha.com on October 9, 2020.

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John Lim

John Lim

Writer, coffee enthusiast, tech geek, and occasional Korean cook.