Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tōka (Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku)

塩つけ麺 灯花
しおつけめん とうか
Shio Tsukemen Touka

Shio tsukemen: 16 / 20

As I was making my way towards Toka, I was a bit concerned to eat another shio tsukemen three hours after my first of the day, and five hours before the last... thus, I was happy when I arrived to discover that you could choose your tsukemen in all variations, including a very simple version without chashu and egg. That’s what I need for now!

Broth: A salty broth that tastes like chicken, less fatty than at Momonoki. I cannot say it gave a tremendous amount of taste to the noodles though.

Noodles: Pleasant noodles, less curly and maybe harder than at Momonoki.

Meat: I ordered the version without meat, but there were two small slices of chashu in the broth, relatively firm and salty, not unpleasant.

Toppings: The noodles were sprinkled with stripes of nori, which gave a nice twist to the mix of noodles and broth. Some thin and salty menma. And finally, the touch that made all the difference: some yuzu koshio (kind of spicy yuzu paste) on the side of the noodles-bowl, that you can put on your noodles after you dipped them in the broth. Delicious!

Soup wari: A very well crafted soup wari gave a more cloudy, starchy structure to the bowl (feels kind of like they had added some potato flour), with the addition of some kind of ‘rice krispies’ (that remained crispy even in the soup!).

The base of this dish was very essentialized, but had many little twists that made it worthwhile of attention. The yuzukoshio was a great addition for sure - seriously, it must have been the greatest invention of humanity since the wheel (I cannot say 'sliced bread' - seriously, who wants to buy his bread already sliced?)... It really gave the extra punch that sometimes lack in shio tsukemen.

If you are on a diet and want ramen, that may be a good place to go. As a note, this ramen joint must be the smallest one I’ve ever been to: five seats around the counter, that’s it - and you barely have any room to slide the door behind you when you want to leave. But it was a convivial configuration, and the choregraphy of the chef preparing meticulously the ingredients of each bowl made a great show.

More info on ramendb.

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