Kohmen Ramen: Tantanmen

Time for some reviews and write ups from our trip to Tokyo. Both Gio and I happened to be heading to Tokyo at the same time (vacation for me, work for him) so we had to grab all the ramen we could! One of my absolute favorite places is Kohmen Ramen. They have several chains around Tokyo of which we usually go to the one in Harajuku or Akihabara (top floor of Yodobashi Camera). Hands down one of my all time favorite ramens is Kohmen’s Tantanmen. I have to have it every time we are in Japan and can’t leave without it.

A szechuan style dish, the standout here is the amazing spicy sesame broth and roasted pork. I choose to order the “deluxe” version which comes with extra toppings on the side that you add to the bowl. The toppings include green onion, roasted garlic, bamboo shoots, seaweed, 1/2 a seasoned egg, seaweed, cayenne pepper strings, and bok choy.

Let’s start with the broth. If I could survive just by eating this broth I think I would. It’s thick and creamy with an awesome fatty-porky-sesame flavor that makes the dish. The addition of chili oil and garlic in the broth rounds out what is easily one of my top 2 ramen broths ever. (More on that in a later review)

The cubed roast pork and thinly sliced chasu compliments everything well and the toppings were fresh and crunchy.  The noodles were cooked perfectly and soaked up the spicy chili oil which each loud slurp.

If you are ever in Tokyo I highly recommend making a trip to any of Kohmen’s locations. The open kitchen adds an awesome atmosphere to the fantastic food. The price also makes this a no-brainer at just shy of $11 for a “deluxe” size ramen.

-Matt

kohmen_tantan

  • Dish: Tantanmen Deluxe
  • Price: 1,100 Yen = ~$11.00
  • Extras: Seasoned Boiled Egg (free during lunch “happy hour”)
  • Rating: rating_5
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Himawari: Tan Tan Men Deluxe

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.

– Matt

  • Dish: Tan Tan Men Deluxe
  • Price: $13.00
  • Extras: Sweet Corn $1.00
  • Rating: rating_4

tantanmen1  tantanmen2