Confused about Ramen and Tsukemen? We were too, so we prepared this full guide to everything Tsukemen and how the dish differentiates itself from Ramen, the more famous of the two dishes. This article contains a recipe for Tsukemen, as well as a recipe for Halal Tsukemen and Vegan Tsukemen. Let's get straight to it, and start with the 5 main differences between ramen and tsukemen.
Ramen is best served hot! This is a well known fact, however it poses two challenges.
Guess what, Tsukemen solves all these problems with one simple change of perspective.
It takes care of all reservations you may have against eating Ramen in one fell swoop.
As you dip the noodles in the stock yourself, you decide the perfect temperature. And as the soup is separate, should it cool too much, just ask the restaurant staff to reheat it for you.
It’s so simple, but it’s the type of idea that’s so simple you wish you thought of it yourself.
This helps avoid the stress of quickly eating your ramen before it chills too much, and gives you 360 temperature control, as you can leisurely eat the dish without worrying about the soup.
Did you know? The meaning of the name Tsukemen is literally dipping noodles.
Unlike Ramen, where you’re pulling the noodles from the hot stock, with Tsukemen the noodles are cooled and served next to the soup, and you have to take on the challenge of clasping those noodles and guiding them to their stock bath, before arriving in your mouth's warm embrace.
That’s right, if you want to eat Ramen without the downsides of all the sodium and fat, Tsukemen is a great option as it provides the options to switch the usual egg noodles with healthier noodle alternatives. The stock can also be adjusted to a healthier option. You can even make it vegan and gluten free, but more on that later in the article.
Keep in mind, this advice is for you cooking your own Tsukemen. Asking for this in a Japanese Tsukemen restaurant will be swiftly turned down unless stated on the menu.
Japan has had incredible success in spreading their culture through anime and video games, which has led to a common misunderstanding that Ramen comes from Japan.
This is incorrect.
Ramen actually originated in China but the name Ramen was invented in Japan as the name “Chinese Soba” was to be avoided for political reasons at the time. The name was internationalized thanks to Nissin and their world's first instant ramen, which was sold under the name “Chicken Ramen”.
The history of Tsukemen is equally interesting to that of the name ramen. Tsukemen was created by Kazuo Yamagishi in 1955 Tokyo. When Yamagishi-san was only 17, he studied under his first cousin, and as an apprentice, he had to take care of the food waste by eating leftover noodles that were dipped in a bowl of hot water and soy sauce.
Seeing the potential in this form of eating noodles, he popularized this dish when he opened his own shop and sold it under the name “Special Mori Soba”.
There you have it! That’s all the main differences from Ramen. After reading all this, you probably want to eat Tsukemen for yourself, right?
Unfortunately, the dish isn’t as widespread as ramen. But fret not, from here on, you’ll learn where to get the ingredients, how to make Tsukemen and even how to customize the dish to your dietary preferences.
Let’s dig in!
This obviously depends on your location, but here’s the good news! None of the ingredients for an easy Tsukemen is hard to find in most supermarkets with average selection. That’s right, no specialty asian supermarket necessary.
The arguably hardest to get ingredient is bamboo shoots and nori (dried seaweed) both which are relatively widespread globally in 2023. In addition, these are just toppings, hence interchangeable.
Step by step:
For all you halal eaters, vegans & people with allergies, so here is a recipe that covers all your dietary needs:
Step by step:
While Tokyo has the title as the origin city of Tsukemen, the best Tsukemen in Japan is located right near Yotsubashi Station in the heart of Osaka. It’s called Ikareta Noodle Fishtons inspired by the legendary band Fishmans, which music is also played in the venue The restaurant has a 2000’s Japanese Indie band vibe, and serves the juiciest pork cutlets next to their incredible Tsukemen, which simply cannot be described in writing, you must eat it to understand.
I’ll not waste your time, you can find them through their instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/fishtons/?hl=en
If you can't make it to Osaka right now, don't worry, we're here and can ship you the best Tsukemen straight to your door. Check out our Ramen box!