Send noods pls. Japanese dipping noodles that is. We’ve rounded up our top Tsukemen spots that should be making your must-eat bucket lists.
Let’s imagine Tsukemen as the opposite to Ramen – while Ramen is served hot and bothered, Tsukemen is cold, thick noodles served with steaming soup on the side. This keeps the al-dente texture of the noodle, and the broth delectably hot. Grab a generous amount of noodles, dunk in soup, and devour. Once your noodle pile has been depleted, top up your bowl with a clear broth and sip the rest of this comfort-food soup. This extended noodle ritual is much appreciated by those who never want a meal to end.
If you’re new to Tsukemen, welcome to the wonderful world of the Japanese dipping noodle. If you’re a veteran of the thick noodle-dip-and-sip, we’ll get along just fine.
Word of the Day:
An extra serving of noodles.
This tiny Tsukes spot makes the top of our list, originally tucked away in Yuen Long, Aya has just opened its doors in Kennedy Town as well. With a daily limited amount of fresh noodles, and limited amount of seats to match – you’re best to get here well before lunch to avoid the lengthy queues.
Aya’s menu is short and sweet with two to three types of broth to choose from and your choice of flavoured noodles to go with. From your basic buckwheat, to wilder black pepper, lemon and basil flavours – keep an eye out for its daily special for weirder/wonderful-er flavours! The umami-bursting soup pairs perfectly with the incredibly fresh noodles, and the portion size is ideal to quell most decently sized appetites. Still need a kae-dama? No judgement, these noods are too good to resist.
There are no English menus here, but the lovely staff are more than keen to explain the menu and share their picks with you. Prices range from $78 to $88 for your standard tsukemen bowl.
Aya, Shop 14, G/F, Yick Lee Mansion, 26 Kin Tak Street, Yuen Long, Hong Kong, 6350 8637
Aya, G/F, Kam Ling Court, 16 Whitty Street, Shek Tong Tsui, Western District, Hong Kong, 2440 0900
Kakurega Ramen Factory
Hidden in Sham Shui Po’s iconic Dragon Centre mall, comes this soupy secret with a street-eats aesthetic, aided by makeshift wooden rafters used as partitions and repurposed soda crates for seating. Started by the same noodle aficionados who run Butao Ramen in Central, comes this absolute no-frills hole in the wall noodle shop that skimps on decor but maximises on quality. Fresh noodles are kneaded, shaped and cut in-store first thing each morning, meaning a limited amount of 50 bowls for lunch (starting at 11am), and another 50 bowls for their dinner seating (6pm).
With three soup bases to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Served with scallions, bamboo and topped with an exquisite fatty pork and served with an onsen egg on the side, The Kakurega White ($78) is a powerful bonito flavoured broth steaming with pork and fishy flavours, while The Kakurga Black ($88) is made famous by its black garlic oil and for something a little sweeter, The Kakurega Red ($98) is a tomato inspired broth and is the mildest of the three. Top off it all off as usual with the extra broth and keep coming back for more.
Kakurega Ramen Factory, Room 7083, 7/F, Dragon Centre, 37 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3487 0989
One of three locations, Shugetu’s centrally located spot on Gough street is my personal lunch-time guilty-pleasure. Like most ramen shops, the bustle here starts early and is constant. Grab a spot just before noon and you should be fine. Dinner and a show? Peek in through the window and catch the behind the scenes of the fresh noodle making magic. More than just thick tsukemen, the fresh ramen is a must-devour as well.
This spot is all about customising your noodle dreams. Pick your noodle temperature (cold, hot), your flavour-level (original, light), and my favourite part, your noodle weight (100g, 200g, 300g). All. For. The. Same. Price. Top up your broth with the homemade chicken broth to seal the deal. Dishes start at $91, with plenty of additions available to take your bowl to the next level. Shugetsu boasts valuing superb taste as well as health with only the highest quality ingredients and a zero tolerance policy on preservatives, MSG and the like. So you’re welcome, you can justify this carbo-load somewhat.
Sassy Tip: Line too long? Grab a number for Zagin Soba next door, for equally yummy noodles with a unique creamy chicken broth.
Shugetsu, 5 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong
Shugetsu, Shop 6, 30-34 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Shugetsu, G/F, 30 Hoi Kwong Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, www.shugetsu.com.hk
After its highly successful Causeway Bay launch, the Tokyo-based chain Tsukemen Mitaseimenjo welcomes a TST crowd in the K11 Art Mall. This popular spot is known for its superb noodles (great bouncy texture, highly instagrammable) and the very potent fishy soup – not for the faint of heart. The Signature Tsukemen ($78) is a must-order, and for just $2 more you can heat things up with The Spicy Tsukemen ($80). Not to be overshadowed, the sides are showstoppers themselves, check out the plentiful Karaage ($38 for five pieces) crispy deep-fried chicken and Mita-Style Pan Fried Dumplings ($48 for six).
While the lines can be just as long as any other noodle shop in Hong Kong, the minimal interior has a bit more space than most and therefore less waiting time – and if for some unlucky reason you do find yourself queuing, don’t fret, Tsukemen Mitaseimenjo is pretty much open all day from 11am to 1am!
Tsukemen Mitaseimenjo, G/F, Soundwill Plaza 2 – Midtown, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2567 8066
Tsukemen Mitaseimenjo, Shop G21-G22, G/F, K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2513 5311
This cute spot pays homage to the seaside with the interior reminiscent of fishing boat and its signature pork bone and fish powder broth made with authentic Katakuchi iwashi (Japanese dried sardine). Fu-unmaru brags about its bubbingly hot soup (up to 300 degrees celsius!) served in a stone pot for your protection. Look out for the other soup bases including a curry base and a spicy soup made with spicy minced pork and chilli powder.
Another “pick your weight” spot, Fu-unmaru lets you order noodles from 200g, 300g, 400g all the way to a whopping 800g! Pick wisely though, as they do charge extra for those who order more than they can chew.
Fu-unmaru, Shop B, G/F, W Square, 314-324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 3188 1472, www.facebook.com/hkfuunmaru