The leading tsukemen specialist in Japan is Mitsuyado Seimen, with 18 branches in Japan and 3 in the Philippines. The brand recently opened an outlet at The Starling Mall in July this year, bringing authentic tsukemen to Malaysia.
The interior design of Mitsuyado’s reflects a natural motif, such as a carved wooden wall invoking a Zen garden, 3-dimensional round shapes on the wall to express the movement of water, and a majestic bamboo chandelier which reminds one of the lush bamboo forests in Japanese villages.
Before you enter the restaurant, take peek into the window of the noodles lab in front of the outlet, where Mitsuyado’s tsukemen noodles are made fresh daily. The flour to make the thick wheat noodles is imported directly from Hokkaido, Japan. These noodles are rinsed in separate vats of water at varying temperatures to finally achieve the desired serving temperature (best served cold, but also available served hot to suit Malaysian tastes).
With tsukemen, it is the noodles that are the most important, not the broth. Mitsuyado’s noodles are thicker than most ramen, springy and very chewy, especially when they’re served cold. Try eating the ramen on its own first to really taste it, before dipping the ramen into the broth.
The right way to eat tsukemen is to pick up the ramen with chopsticks, then dip and swirl it into the broth before slurping all the noodles straight into your mouth.
The reason the broth is served in a separate bowl is because it is too thick and salty to drink on its own. So when you’ve finished dipping all your noodles, you can dilute what’s left of the broth with the dashi soup (available on each table) and drink it.
Now comes the fun part, sampling the different sauces to dip the ramen in!
First off, we had the TanTan Sesame (Regular RM27.90 / Large RM29.90). Intensely flavoured, this is a must-have for sesame lovers! The aromatic scent of the sesame dipping sauce already tantalized our taste buds before we dipped the noodles into it. The broth, simmered with Mitsuyado’s special sesame oil and tiny pork cubes, has very complex flavours and is utterly delicious. Also, the heat from the broth only serves to enhance the chewiness of the cold noodles.
We also tried the Cheese Special (Regular RM29.90 / Large RM31.90). The way to eat this properly is to ‘drip and dip’ - first drip the cheese sauce into the noodle, and then dip the noodles into the broth. The creaminess of cheese really comes through. Oh dear, just the noodles and cheese is already amazing but when you dip it into the savoury broth and slurp it up, it’s like going to cheese heaven! Yes, we do mean slurp it up as that’s really the only way to eat this.
If that’s not enough, you can order sides like pork gyoza, roast pork slices and chicken karaage. We found the chicken karaage (RM11.90) to be tender and juicy with a perfect crunchy outer layer, albeit the portion was a tad small. Squeeze some lemon on it for a little extra zest.
Lastly, you can have some ice cream to finish your meal on sweet note. The flavours of ice-cream on offer are very fittingly Japanese - yuzu, black sesame and green tea. We ordered the yuzu and black sesame to try. We particularly liked the yuzu ice cream, with its delicate citrusy scent - combining hints of grapefruit and tangerine. It was so refreshing and cleansed our palates perfectly.
Craving for some tsukemen after reading our article? Mitsuyado Seimen can be found at Level 2, Unit S-229 of The Starling Mall, at 6 Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The opening hours are 11.30am to 2.30pm & 6pm to 9.30pm for Mondays to Fridays and 11am to 9.30pm for Saturdays and Sundays.