Ramen noodles are famous all over the world, but did you know there are other noodles that are as popular as ramen? They are called tsukemen. Do not confound them! In the summertime, tsukemen are even more popular than hot ramen.
Here is how to order and eat tsukemen.
# How to order and eat Tsukemen
1) Find a good tsukemen joint (some links in the end of this article).
There are shops specialized in tsukemen, and ramen shops that also serve tsukemen.
Hot spots for tsukemen & ramen in Tokyo are concentrated in the Ikebukuro, Nakano, Shinjuku, and Takadanobaba areas.
2) Inside the shop, you will usually find a ticket vending machine (食券機) near the entrance ( as shown below).
This is a machine in a ramen shop where tsukemen is also available. So, there are many buttons for ramen menus and tsukemen menus. The buttons for tsukemen are these green one in this shop’s case. Nowadays many shops display pictures or English on their machines, and the staff might come to help you, but just in case, here are some useful words if you are stuck in front of the machine not knowing what to push!
ラーメン：Ramen つけ麺：Tsukemen チャーシュー：Sliced pork 並: Regular size 中：Medium size 大: Large size
In some places you may need to choose between “Hiya-mori(cold noodles)” or “Atsu-mori(hot noodles)” here. They are a method for cooking noodles.
For your information, “Hiya-mori” is standard.
3) Insert cash then push the menu buttons to get tickets. Some machines won’t accept large bills (10,000 yen and 5,000 yen), so make sure to have a 1,000 yen bill with you.
You take the ticket and hand it over a shop staff behind the counter. In some cases you put the ticket on your table, then a shop staff will take it to pass the order to the kitchen.
Then, wait at your seat until your Tsukemen arrives.
4) When it arrives, taste the soup a little. Then feel free to add the seasonings or toppings you can find on your table or on the counter. Now, pick up some noodles and dip them into the soup. Toss it well with soup then eat with a slurping sound! This is considered proper manner when eating Japanese noodles.
If the soup is too spicy, eat noodles with toppings. It’ll milden the spiciness.
5) After finishing your noodles, ask a shop staff for “Soup-wari”. It is some soup stock to pour in your bowl for you to drink it!
The staff will bring a container filled with soup stock. Or you can pour it from a thermos bottle on the counter or the table.
(※There might be also shops which doesn’t correspond.)
5) Did you like your tsukemen? Then, leave the shop saying “Gochisousama-deshita” to the shop staff. This phrase is Japanese table etiquette, which is used after you finish eating to thank the person who prepared the meal.
If you didn’t pay at the ticket vending machine, don’t forget to pay the bill at the cashier!
Please take a look at The useful words for Tsukemen shop for your references!
# Recommended shops
Do you feel like you’ll be able to order a tsukemen at tsukemen shops?
In the hot season, Hiroshima-style tsukemen is perfect! Because it’s easy to eat because of its spiciness and coldness, even if you have lost your appetite because of the heat.
I’ll introduce you my recommended Hiroshima-style tsukemen shops in Tokyo.
Eat a spicy tsukemen to survive the hot summer!
●広島麺バル ばくだん屋渋谷店（Hiroshima Men Bar Bakudan-ya Shibuya store）
An Izakaya style restaurant for Hiroshima’s, “Bakudan-ya” Tsukemen.
・Address: King building 2-9-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku Tokyo
・Open: 11:30-16:00, 17:00-24:00
・Access: 7 min walk from Miyamasuzaka Gate, JR Yamanote Line “Shibuya” station/ 7 min walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza / Hanzomon Line “Omote-sando” station/ 8 min walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line “Shibuya” station
A Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (savory egg and cabbage pancake containing a variety of ingredients) and Tsukemen shop. Tsukemen is available only during lunch time.
・Address: 2-6-2 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku Tokyo
・Open: 11:30-14:30, 17:00-23:30 (※Tsukemen is available only during lunch time.)
・Access: 1 min walk from Kanasugibashi Gate, JR “Hamamatsucho” station/ 5 min walk from Toei Subway Line “Daimon” station
●らあめん広 (Ramen Hiro)
A new Ramen shop opened recently in Akihabara. It’s a small shop with only counter seating, where you can enjoy ‘punchy’ Hiroshima-style tsukemen.
・Address: 2-25 Kanda-sakumacho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo
・Open: 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00/ Saturdays: 11:30-15:00
※They close when all their soup stock has been sold.
・Access: 3 min walk from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line “Akihabara” station/ 5 min walk from Showa-dori Gate, JR “Akihabara” station
Please see the article about “Bakudan-ya”, which is a very famous Tsukemen shop in Hiroshima!
If looking for something a little more original, I recommend you visit Suzy House in Arakicho (Shinjuku).