Ryo's Ramen Talk No.5
Tsuke-men (Dipping Ramen)
Today I would like to talk about Tsuke-men! The best translations for Tsuke-men would probably be something along the lines of "dipping ramen." I doubt there were many ramen shops before us that served Tsuke-men as we opened our doors all the way back in 2006. However nowadays, we see dipping ramen in many places in the states. Seeing that Tsuke-men is more widely accepted now, I am much more comfortable with the term "dipping ramen." You may be wondering if there is a point to separating the noodles from the soup. Why not just eat it as regular ramen? Believe it or not, the taste is completely dierent! Firstly, the texture of the noodles is dierent. Rinsing noodles causes them to shrink and have a bit crunchy texture. Therefore, Tsuke-men noodles are cooked a bit longer than regular ramen noodles. This makes perfect texture: smooth and bouncy! When the chilled noodles meet hot soup, it is harmony in your mouth! Perfectly refreshing for hot summer days! The history of Tsuke-men is actually quite brief compared to other types of ramen. Firstly, "Dipping noodles" is not a new idea limited to ramen, you have zaru-soba /udon for starters. It could have just come naturally to any ramen shop. However in this industry, many people believe the origin was "Tai Sho Ken" in Nakano, Tokyo, and the legend of Ramen, Mr. Yamagishi who started in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. He named his original dish "Tsuke-soba." (Soba can mean "noodles" in general, and like in this instance does not refer to the buckwheat noodles.) This dish was an employee made ramen for their lunch. In the early 1970’s following Tai Sho Ken, “Ganso Tsuke-men Daio” nally named this dish “Tsuke-Men”. I, Ryo remember that my eyes almost popped out because it was so tasty when I rst had Tsuke-men at Ganso Tsuke-men Daio in front of my house in Tokyo when I was 5 or 6 years old. Perhaps my parents let me have Tsuke-men since it was not a hot bowl and safe for a kid, but it became my best favorite dish. Since then, Tsuke-men (dipping ramen) has been my favorite summer dish, and I have of course had hundreds of tsuke-men in my life.
Tsuke-men trend has changed drastically over the course of time. In the 1980’s til the
mid 1990’s, Tsuke-men broth was almost always chicken or/and sh broth based, with
some of stores that had a sour refreshing kick, pepper spicy kick, sweet avor, etc., to
be unique. Then after the mid 1990’s, as “Kyushu Tonkotsu ramen” became popular all
over the nation, Tsuke-men got also inuenced, and many shops started pork broth
based Tsuke-men. A famous one “Roku Rin Sha” which might be known by some of you,
gained their fame through the Tsuke-men trend. Recently, other unique dishes like the
Italian-style Tsuke-men (tomato-based) have surfaced, and perhaps more “unique” ones are
coming. In any respect, Tsuke-men is absolutely a great ramen dish, and I hope you can try if you
get the chance to!
At Samurai Noodle, we are proudly serving a new dipping ramen dish, “Tonkotsu Tsuke-men” for this summer.
By the way, many customers have asked why we named our original dipping ramen “Tetsu Max”. It was named
by one of co-founders Tetsuya! Tetsuya put his maximized amount of eort in his dipping ramen, thus he named
it the “Tetsu Max.” Tetsu Max is categorized in “Tai Sho Ken” style old school dipping ramen.
So please enjoy both the old school traditional dipping ramen “Tetsu Max” and this new trend dipping ramen “Tonkotsu Tsuke-men!”