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Japan 2012: Tsukemen

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The second most common japanese dish, the first being sushi, is probably ramen – japanese noodle soup.  Everywhere you go in Japan you will inevitably come across a ramen shop, most of them are small mom and pop restaurants with very limited seating or standing room only – made so you can quickly eat and go!  Depending on the region of Japan you’re in, dictates the type of ramen – each has their own version.  On this trip, a new noodle soup was introduced to me by my cousin and her husband in Nagoya called Tsukemen.  The translation literally means – dipping noodles.  When you arrive, there is a vending machine for which you purchase your meal ticket and give it to one of the servers; you get to choose from a variety of toppings – I chose a topping of karrage (deep fried marinated chicken).  And next thing you know, within 10 minutes I had a bowl of hot soup and a separate bowl of noodles with my chicken on top.  I’ve never eaten noodles this way where you take your noodles from one bowl and dip them into the soup and eat – its like dunking your french fries in ketchup!  But, what’s unique about this particular place is that you get to make your own risotto with your leftover soup – that’s two meals in one!  Each table came equipped with a hot plate; after you finish eating, we each placed our soup bowl on the hot plate, we then received a bowl of rice, a raw egg and shredded cheese and stirred everything together – then voila, homemade japanese style risotto!  Genius!

Purchasing my meal at the vending machine before walking into the restaurant

Bowl of eggs at the door - you pick one up on the way in if you want to make risotto!

Tsukemen - my noodles and chicken and the soup. You can see the egg, rice and cheese we were given to make risotto.

Making risotto at the table - cooking the rice and stirring in the cheese!

Menu - it tells you how to make risotto

Ramen-ya - ramen shop

 

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