Last Friday, I went to Shinjuku to meetup with a few friends. It’s a mini Singaporeans gathering and my ‘sister’ in Japan, J-neechan suggested tsukemen (つけ麺) for dinner. Her recommendation can never go wrong because she’s a food lover. 😀
I was late for the meetup time because the train lines (2 out of 3) went faulty since that morning and I was left with only 1 train line to commute with. After I’ve met up them, we went straight to the tsukemen shop because there’ll be a long queue forming. Sure enough, there was about 4 – 5 groups ahead of us in the waiting line.
For this particular shop, you have to buy the food ticket (食券) first before queuing. As my friend recommended ‘Ebi Tomato Tsukemen’ (Prawn tomato dipping sauce with noodle – 海老トマトつけ麺), we took her words and give it a shot.
In Japan’s ramen / tsukemen / soba shop, they will place food ticket machine in replace of a cashier (i.e. cut down in manpower). So when the customer steps into the shop, the customer will insert money into the machine and choose what they want to eat. However, if you can’t read Japanese or don’t know what’s famous in the shop, just choose the option located in the top left-hand corner of the machine and it can’t go wrong. Take this shop for example, it’s famous for Ebi Tsukemen (海老つけ麺) and you can see that the option is at the top left-hand corner.
I’ve ordered ‘Ebi Tomato Tsukemen with Aji-tama’, Aji-tama (味玉) is seasoned egg. After buying the food ticket, we went out to queue before getting a seat inside the shop. The staff came and collected the food tickets and asked us about the volume of the noodles. You can choose small or regular. We waited for 30 – 45 minutes before getting a seat but the noodles were served within minutes.
The noodles were topped with basil pesto sauce & a slice of baguette. The dipping sauce was so rich and flavorful but not overdoing in taste. I can taste the essence of the prawn and the sourness from the tomato. It has a little Italian-taste when I ate the baguette dipped in the sauce and then topped with basil pesto sauce. I like it very much and would like to bring Y-chan to this shop when we go to Shinjuku some day. 😀
When eating tsukemen, the dipping sauce is very very rich in taste, it’s for dipping so please don’t drink it like it’s ramen soup. You might hate tsukemen because of it. What to do if I have leftover dipping sauce and I’ve finished my noodles? Tell the shop staff that you want ‘su-pu wari’ (スープ割り) and they will dilute the dipping sauce so that it’ll become a soup instead. 😀 [Note: some shops doesn’t have this service, so do keep a lookout for it. :)]