When it comes to ramen, there are many tastes and regional variations whether it be shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), tonkotsu (pork bone broth) in Kyushu or miso ramen which is served up in Hokkaido. On top of that come the crazy novelty ones which include things like cheese, coffee, ice-cream, tequila, kiwi, ham, pizza, sake, pineapple and so on. The kind of things that the true ramen masters would most definitely turn their nose up at!
That intro was actually copy and pasted from earlier this year when I sampled blue ramen but it’s an opening paragraph that’s also apt for this post about a new wave of ramen which has recently started being served up in a trailer house restaurant in Tokyo. Earlier this month, on a ridiculously hot day (over 36 degrees celsius!) I stopped off at this place en-route to see Tokyo’s newest big buddha statue.
Sadly, this place is not centrally located so one has to venture out west for about an hour to Seibu Tachikawa Station on the Seibu Hajima Line where it can be found five minutes walk away. There are just 13 seats inside this ramen restaurant (which I presume is called ‘Uma’) and they are all sitting at the counter. The owner was a very nice friendly guy and even came to pose for a picture on my way out later.
Confronted by a ticket machine on arrival, it took me a while to locate the button for goku-uma tsukemen (dipping noodles) as the most popular ones are usually found on the top row. Not here though as it was buried right in the middle of all the many dish options. It cost 920 yen and you can choose whether to have a regular or large serving of noodles. Naturally, I went for the big option!
When it was served to me I thought I had better confirm with the waitress how to eat it exactly. I was quite surprised when the answer came back in English! As expected, you just break open the bread cover and dip a serving of noodles in each time!
In some ways it looks not too dis-similar to Russian soup-pot (not sure of its proper name). Breaking into the dome is the fun bit and the bread lid is slightly sweet.
The soup is thick and rich in flavour and contains a single piece of thick chashu (Japanese braised pork) meat. Steam is instantly emitted once the chopsticks tear into it and then you just take the chewy thick noodles and dip them into the hot soup. It really is absolutely delicious and I’d love to try it again but it’s just a bit too far to go for it.
Ume Tsukemen is a rarity (for now) and has recently featured on television and in magazines which is how I came to know about it. The address is 1-3-15 Nishitsagamachi, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo. Please note that it is NOT open on Tuesdays.
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: The “Blue Ramen” Restaurant’