Monday, February 23, 2015

Tsujita: Tsukamen-style ramen

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If you are a loyal reader of this blog, you may have picked up on our ramen obsession. Naturally, I had to seek out ramen for my last meal out in LA. This was probably one of my favorite meals all week just due to the uniqueness of the flavors and style of ramen. The coolest part was that this was Tsukamen-style ramen with the noodles served on the side for dipping. 
The layout of the restaurant is tiny. There are only a few seats at the counter and two other tables. When you arrive, you put your name on the list and hang out outside till seats open up. Thankfully at lunch time we didn't have to wait more than 15-20 minutes.  
There are only two options on the menu: Ramen with the noodles mixed in the broth or Tsukamen with the noodles on the side. Since I had never tried it before, I went with the Tsukamen and added an extra egg and char siu pork. Honestly the  portion was so generous that the add-ins were unnecessary. 
My favorite part of the dish was the noodles. They were perfectly chewy and balanced the heat and spice of the ramen broth. I was surprised that they were served slightly chilled, but I am told that is the thing. I alternated between dipping then in the broth and spooning the broth over the noodle bowl. It was so fun to play with my food! 
Compared to the picture above, the broth took on a deep red color once I stirred in all of the ingredients. This is largely due to the generous portion of chili powder that I incorporated into the broth. Thankfully the heat was mild to medium, and I never felt overwhelmed by the spice level. For heat lovers, there was extra chili powder served on the side. And if you are spice-averse I recommend stirring in little bits at a time. Also, if the broth gets too spicy you can just spoon it over the noodles to temper the heat.  
The flavor of this broth was increasingly complex with each bite. The eggs were perfectly cooked to a soft-boiled consistency. I felt like I experienced new flavors with each bite.

What I love about ramen is the multitude of variations I have tried and how each one seems to surpass the others.  Tsujita was a fun foray into the world of Tsukamen, and I can't wait to find more places to try it out. If any readers know of a place to get Tsukamen in the DC-area, we would appreciate the suggestions!


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