Tsukemen: Dipping Hot & Cold Ramen Noodles
Ramen and Tsukemen
Shops making tasty ramen noodles are everywhere in Japan. Get off the train at just about any station and chances are that you will find a ramen shop nearby. Many ramen shops offer ramen (noodles served in a bowl of soup) and tsukemen (noodles and soup served separately) and some shops actually specialise in tsukemen. While ramen is more famous, you should also try tsukemen.
Both for ramen （ラーメン） and tsukemen （つけ麺）, every shop has their own soup and that defines the taste of the finished dish. Noodles can be a little thinner or thicker and soups made with pork, chicken, fish, or a mixed broth. Noodles and be hot or cold and the soup for dipping them in as well. Not all shops have all combinations, the best is to first try the most popular one at a shop.
Take a few noodles, dip them completely in the soup and then eat them and don't forget to make the typical ramen sound. It is part of the experience and with the sound you also show how tasty the noodles are. When you are done with your noodles, you can get extra hot broth for your soup. Drink it to finish the meal.
Eating Tsukemen Ramen in Asakusa
The pictures above are from two different ramen shops in the Asakusa area that I have visited recently. The cold noodles with the hot soup are a regular portion of tsukemen at Taiga （たいが）. This shop's specialty is its chicken based ramen soup.
The hot noodles swimming in the separate bowl are from Asakusa Seimenjo （浅草製麺所）. This is called Kama-age-tsukemen and the dipping soup is a spicy tan-tan taste that you might know from tantanmen ramen （担々麺）. This shop makes its own noodles.