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Tsukemen vs Ramen: 3 Simple Steps to Differentiate The Two

Tsukemen is served with the noodles and soup separately.

While ramen noodles are already in the piping hot soup,

You rinse the tsukemen noodles in cold water once.

And put these tsukemen noodles on a dish.

Then serve the dish with the soup in a  bowl. 

1. Tsukemen and ramen are similar

In 2003, when I moved to Tokyo from the countryside, 

I learned there is a noodle dish that is very similar to ramen.

It was called tsukemen.

I knew it was popular there because there was always a long line at the tsukemen shop.

I saw the lineup when I went to the bookstore called Junkudo in Ikebukuro.

And I was wondering how it tastes.

After passing by the store 5 times, I finally decided to give it a try...

2. Tsukemen is a type of noodle that you dip your noodles in

Noodles and soup are served in a separate dish and a bowl.

And this is the biggest difference between tsukemen and ramen.

3. Soup of tsukemen is thicker and saltier than ramen soup

This is because when you eat tsukemen, you dip the noodles only for a short period of time.

It means the soup must be thicker and saltier.

In addition, the water from the noodles makes the soup thinner. In order to prevent that, 

The soup of tsukemen must be thicker and saltier.

This very thick and strong taste is made from pork or chicken bones and some seafood. (Sometimes a fish flake is served with soup)

4. If you want to drink the soup, you need to mix it with broth

It is impossible to drink it because it is too salty.

So people drink tsukemen soup this way after eating all the noodles and toppings. 

You can ask for the broth at the restaurant.

5. Tsukemen noodles and ramen noodles are made of the same ingredients

Tsukemen and ramen noodles are made of...

Kansui, flour, and water.

Raw ramen noodles and instant ramen noodles are both made of these 3 ingredients.

Kansui is an alkaline solution (usually sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate).

Kansui makes noodles...


Chewy, and

Gives it its distinct ramen noodle flavor.

6. But thick noodles are a standard of tsukemen

Fascination of tsukemen is in its noodles. You can feel the fresh flavor and taste of flour directly from the noodles.

And you can feel a good chew and bounce.

For that reason, noodles for tsukemen are medium thick to very thick.

7. Tsukemen noodles have more freshness, smoothness, and denseness

This is because the chef washes the ramen noodles in cold water after cooking.

The recipe for tsukemen is not that different from the ramen recipe.

But this is the important difference.

Chefs have to do the same thing as udon.

Pro tip:

You shouldn’t soak tsukemen noodles in the soup for too long.

The noodles will make your soup really cold.

If you want to keep your soup hot, pick up a few noodles (portion of one bite) from the dish and dip them into the soup and eat them quickly.

8. Portion of noodles is larger than regular ramen

If you serve the same amount of noodles as ramen noodles, it looks like a very small portion. 

This is because the noodles are served on a plate separately.

9. Usually, tsukemen is more expensive than regular ramen. 

Here are reasons why…

1 Portion of noodles is larger than regular ramen.

2 It takes time to boil since noodles are thicker than regular ones.

3 You need to wash noodles, so chefs need to put in extra work.

10. Here are some characteristics of tsukemen…

Soup: Very thick and strong taste (Sometimes fish flake is served with soup)

Noodles:  Middle thick to very thick.

Toppings: Chashu, nori, ajitama

Due to Covid, a lot of good ramen restaurants have closed

It makes me feel very angry.

I used to eat ramen out frequently,

But in this situation, 

Ramen shops have started to shorten the hours, limit the number of customers, or even closed their shops.

It has affected the industry so much.

I am afraid good ramen will be gone

But meanwhile, you still can enjoy ramen in the comfort of your own home.

Here are some of my recommendations for ramen lovers.

1. Sapporo Ichiban Shio Flavor


In truth, Sapporo Ichiban delivers a good quality shio ramen experience.

Actually, it is very difficult to find good shio ramen.

Do you know why?

Because it is very difficult to make it since it is very simple.

There are many good shoyu and miso flavored instant noodles out there.

But I feel specifically, the shio flavor market is monopolized by Sapporo Ichiban.

Think about this for a moment having good shio ramen for your dinner with your favorite ramen toppings.

Now, you want some, don’t you?

2. Nissin Raoh Shoyu Flavor


It is nearly impossible to make restaurant quality noodles at home without the right tools and equipment.

How can you beat that?

Using Raoh’s shoyu flavour will help you achieve this easily. This is top-notch ramen hands down!

One pinnacle of instant noodles is the soy sauce flavor. It is expensive compared to regular ones but let me tell you, it deserves every single penny.

In a nutshell, I loved every bit of it.

...And I am sure you will too.

3. The problem here is that no toppings come with these packets.

Here are some topping options and recipes for you.

Green onion

4. Have you ever faced these issues...

A lack of large, high-quality soup bowl sets at home?

Are you still struggling with...

😢 ...small bowls that aren’t large enough for soups, noodles and toppings.

😢 ...spillage every time you eat out of your bowl.

😢 ...low-quality tableware and utensils that don’t compliment your food.

Look no further, 

Our best-selling bowls are here to fix all the issues you face with small, inefficient tableware.

After struggling with spillage and leakage during dinner time, 

We decided to introduce APEX S.K’s large soup bowls to the market.

Want to hear why some people absolutely love our ramen bowls?

"These are perfect for homemade ramen soup nights! The bowls we have at home are not large enough and my wife has been trying to look for larger bowls. I'm so glad I stumbled upon these. They made a great Christmas gift for the whole family. Everybody was so excited and we can't wait to put them to use on our next ramen night."

"Amazing quality! They are very durable. I dropped it from standing height to test if they would break, but no dents or anything."

"The shape, the color, and the overall appearance of the bowl was exactly what I was looking for - the shape, the color"

Check our sets on Amazon..


About the Author

Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".

"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.

Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.

If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.

Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.

I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.

My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)

Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.

My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.

Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."

Did you know that we offer more than just a ramen blog?

We also have an exclusive collection of ramen-inspired t-shirts and hoodies that any true noodle lover will adore.

Head over to ApexRamen and check it out for yourself.

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