Rainy day usually it’s not really a good news as I have to take the train to school (costly), but this time I gotta thank the rain for giving me the opportunity to taste one of the best tsukemen (つけ麺; broth-dipping noodle) in town.
Had this lunch with friend after our daily dose of table tennis game, and decided to check out this famous tsukemen stall, hope that there’ll be lesser customers due to the rain.
哲 つけ麺 (Tetsu Tsukemen) is located somewhere in Bunkyo-ku (文京区) and I pass by the shop everyday when cycling to school. There’s this distinctive fragrance of preparing the broth (or soup, for some) whenever I pass-by in the morning.
Even so, I didn’t had the chance to try it until recently as whenever I’m on the way back (usually during lunch time), there’s this long queue waiting outside the shop.
Well, when it comes to the best tsukemen in Tokyo and the patient Japanese, it’s not unusual to see long queue outside stall, sometimes close to 20 people in the narrow walkway. The shop only accommodates 9 guests at a time.
There’s this simple rule in Japan, that the longer the crowd’s queue, the better the stuffs/products will be (but this doesn’t apply on everything though).
Like any ramen outlets, Tetsu uses a vending machine to take order and collect the money. It serves as the menu as well, to show what they’re offering.
With some basic Japanese-reading it shouldn’t be a big problem for you, or just simply ask the friendly staff for assistant.
Different types of noodles they’re offering.
There’s the normal chilled noodle (つけめん), warm noodle (あつもり) and mixture of both chilled and warm noodle (つけあつ).
While normal portion comes with 200g of noodle, there’s the bigger and largest portion at 300g and 400g each.
Noticed the "smoke" coming out from the side? It’s packed with the full flavour of the cooking broth. Yeah…. the smell itself is one of the best advertisement to attract customers who chose the food by nose (like me hah!).
While normally one gotta wait for ~30 mins (or more) for their turn, ours took just 10 mins, with 3 salary men ahead of us. There’s the staff who will be confirming our orders before we’re being seated inside.
Inside the stall is just pretty simple settings but looking at the staffs preparing the meal is certainly feasting, not to get bored inside. Besides, they serve pretty fast too, so don’t need to wait that long.
Promoting their take-out menu, also advertising their achievement of being the best tsukemen in Tokyo consecutively in year 2008 and 2009 (possible 2010 too!).
Comical instructions to show how to enjoy the in-house tsukemen.
If you may have noticed, the method of eating tsukemen is different than ordinary ramen which the noodle is soaked inside the broth.
First you pick up the noodle and dip it into the broth for awhile. Then, send the noodle into your mouth like how you usually devour noodle dishes.
My overall set, 特製つけ麺 (special tsukemen). Cost 1000 yen.
The chilled noodle, much thicker compared to the ones I had in other places.
My broth (cooked with pork’s bone with some seafood). I ordered their special and it comes with an egg (味玉; flavoured egg) and a few pieces of thick char-siew.
This pic didn’t show how much of stuffs are underneath the broth though, just a tip of the iceberg heh.
Friend’s set, あつもり (atsumori). He ordered the warm noodle version which the noodle is soaked in a lighter broth. Cost 750 yen.
People would easily mistaken "tetsu" as the kanji "鉄" (metal), but this is the proper kanji "哲" (philosophy).
Tetsu’s tsukemen definitely lives up the name as the best tsukemen in town. While the noodle can be "replicated" by others, the secret to the victory lies within the thick broth which is rich in flavour, definitely beats any other contemporary Japanese soups/broths. It’s a flavour that I didn’t tasted before, surely this is exciting and I’ll be looking forward to try it again next time!
I was fortunate enough to had try this famous tsukemen. I don’t really had the patience to wait outside the shop with others for quite some time so to try it during rainy day is a good idea heh. I’ll definitely come again, when there’s not much people around.
Oh besides the weather, it’s best to visit it around 3pm, as it’s off-lunch hour and avoiding the queue. Business ends around 3:45pm.