One of my absolute favorite dishes from our time spent in Japan, Tan Tan Men, is a somewhat rare dish to find here in the states. Himawari in San Mateo offers a rendition of the dish, the Japanese version of Dan Dan noodles, that is pretty much spot on to what I have enjoyed in Tokyo.
In my experience (I may be incorrect) Tan Tan Men is often started with a pork, or tonkotsu, base and then sesame paste is added to the broth to mimic the peanut flavoring in the Dan Dan noodles. A heavy dose of chili oil and garlic is added and then the usual assortment of toppings.
Himawari’s bowl features ground pork, chashu, stewed pork belly, green onions, bean sprouts, a seasoned boiled egg, and a nice healthy clump of cilantro. As an extra, I choose to add my favorite, sweet corn. The stand out to me of this dish was the broth. A rich, heavy, and very spicy example of the sesame broth I have come to love, the broth was fantastic. The sesame added a wonderful heavy nutty flavor that complemented the buttery fatty flavors of the pork.
The toppings were all fresh and flavorful with the stewed pork belly really standing out. Fatty and rich, but moist and tender with no chewiness or dryness to be found. The veggies, especially the cilantro, added a nice counter to the flavor and spice of the broth.
Overall the dish was a fantastic example of a Tan Tan Men style ramen and satisfied my craving. No real complaints at all, only reason I am giving it a 4 out of 5 is because it can’t quite sit side by side with the best I have had. It’s also slightly on the expensive side at $13.00.
- Dish: Tan Tan Men Deluxe
- Price: $13.00
- Extras: Sweet Corn $1.00