12 August 2011

tsukemen ramen (yum)

Hello there !

As many of you will know, I have been away for a few weeks discovering some corners of the unconquerable city that is New York. What a place. I hope to post about some highlights soon. However, in the meantime, there is something I have to tell you now !

While I was in NYC, the inaugural issue of David Chang's mag "Lucky Peach" was released. True to form, Chang (of momofuku fame) dedicated the first issue entirely a subject VERY close to his heart - RAMEN. The issue is excellent - if you have any interest at all in this masterpiece of Japanese cuisine, check it out.

Why am I telling you this now ?!

So, the issue opens with a mouth-wateringly detailed account of a 6-day foodie hop around Tokyo that Chang does with a food journo friend, Peter Meehan. At one point, Chang talks about a certain type of ramen, called "tsukemen":

"[Tsukemen] is when they serve chilled noodles on the side of a broth that's a little more intense that usual. Once you think about it, it's like, "Oh, of course. What don't we eat pasta like that all the time ?" 
Whenever you eat pasta in broth, it's breaking down. The idea with tsukemen is that you cook the noodle and then shock it to stop the cooking process. Then you have the perfect chewy noodle, and, next to it, and over seasoned broth for the noodle to pick up. A well-made noodle picks up broth just like you'd what garganelli or cavatelli to pick up sauce.
So that's why tsukemen isn't a soup, per se. The broth is more of a dipping broth, seasoned aggressively to the chef's liking. That's what I love about it: you can eat it fast, but you don't burn your entire f*cking face. And after you eat all your noodles, you can ask for the sobayu - the cooking water - to add to the dipping sauce and thin it out into a soup. You still get the full soup experience, but it's deconstructed." 
The bowl of tsukemen ramen they go on to eat after this description obviously changes their lives forever.. ("This is some next-level shit."/"The noodles are insanely good"/"Totally chewy. And this broth is like.."/"It's crack.")

I was reading the Lucky Peach mag on the plane on the way home, and when reading about the tsukemen, my heart sank a little - where could I possibly get tsukemen ramen in Sydney to try for myself ? For tonkotsu, you can't go past the master at Gumshara, but tsukemen...

WELL ! RAMEN KAN ! That's where ! 

A friend from uni took me here tonight, and there it was on the menu !

And, it was delicious ! The broth was verrrrry tasty, and the noodles were eggy and chewy. More than anything, I was delighted that Sydney had come up with the goods + I was at least given the chance to try the noodle-dipping ramen for myself ! 

So, there you have it, tsukemen ramen, and where to get it ! If you're a bit of a noodle-nut, like me, you'll love it. More noodle = better life. Give it a go. 


Vivian - vxdollface said...

hehe that's where i go for my tsukemen fix too :) perfect for hot weather!

Siobhan C said...

I made the ramen from Lucky Peach last week. It was so fortifying. Chicken soup x 1000.

rockahenry said...

nice nice!
i love a good tsukemen fix.

menya also does a really good version and the one at ichi-ban boshi isnt too bad either

excusemewaiter said...

i see tsukemen on the menu a lot but for some reason haven't really liked it that much when i have tried it before - but after reading the mouthwatering "deconstructed ramen experience" description, i'm keen to try it again!

tanja said...

Hello there ! @ Siobhan - isn't it delicious, i love his vege nage vs meat stock idea. I think he's really onto something.

@Rockahenry - thanks for the tip - I am v keen to try others. : )