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Tsukemen (Ramen Dipper) @ Ryowa, Berkeley

m
Melanie Wong Aug 8, 2005 04:01 AM

Recently I had a chance to satisfy my curiousity about what "Ramen Dipper", $6.50, offered by Ryowa might be. That's what it's called on signs with photos posted around the restaurant. On the menu, it's shown as "Tsukemen". This style of ramen with noodles and soup served separately is said to have been invented by Taishoken in Tokyo.

Unlike the descriptions I've read of Taishoken's tsukemen, Ryowa has the add-ins with the cold noodles and not in the soup. The wider and firmer extra grade "special noodles" are used for this dish and topped with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, wakame, shredded nori, half a hard-cooked egg, and thick cuts of fatty cha su roast pork, all cold or room temperature. The small bowl contained a very concentrated shoyu-flavored stock with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.

To eat this, you dip chopstick-fuls of the noodle mix into the hot stock to flavor and warm it. It's actually a little clumsy. I tried putting a larger portion into the soup bowl, however, the stock is so reduced and salty that more than a quick dip in this potion makes the noodles too intensely flavored to eat. Also, the other ingredients fall to the bottom and its hard to get them together again in one bite. After a while, the small volume of soup stock cools down quickly too.

The special noodles were elastic and firm, just great. The pieces of cha su seemed fattier and more tender when cut in this fashion versus the cross cuts used in the regular ramen. Yet, while I liked the flavor and enjoyed trying this, I'm not sure that with the work it takes to eat I'd order it again. It's certainly worth a try for the experience.

I noticed that the tubs of kimchi on the tabletops were gone. Now you request kimchi and receive a small portion. Also, there was a notice posted that Ryowa's liquor license had been temporarily suspended. It should have been reinstated by now.

PERSONAL RAMEN RANKINGS

1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco17/messages/72139.html Shoyu ramen and Halu ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/76929.html Lunch set with okara salad and rice
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco24/messages/92363.html Pirikara miso ramen and appetizers
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco28/messages/104215.html Pumpkin ramen and eggplant appetizer
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/133474.html Shio ramen lunch set and Halu ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/144914.html Shoyu ramen lunch set
2. Santa, San Mateo
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco17/messages/73416.html Spicy miso ramen and Roast pork tonkotsu ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/113218.html Napa cabbage shoyu ramen and Miso corn ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/135711.html Stewed pork tonkotsu ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/139307.html Curry shoyu ramen and Stewed pork shoyu ramen
3. Ryowa, Berkeley
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/75600.html Fresh side pork with special noodles
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco32/messages/113369.html Original Ryowa with special noodles
4. Himawari, San Mateo
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco24/messages/92226.html Shoyu ramen and Tan-tan miso men
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/112686.html Asari shio ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/129039.html Miso corn ramen and Tonkotsu deluxe ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/138326.html Kanitami ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/142095.html Jar jar men and Wonton ramen
5. Ryowa, Mountain View
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco9/messages/36206.html Original Ryowa ramen and fried chicken special
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/127518.html Original Ryowa ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/135792.html Won ton with special noodles
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/110856.html Special kuro ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco20/messages/80329.html Maru Ichi special ramen and Miso ramen
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/110587.html Littleneck clam shio ramen
8.Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, San Jose
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/127432.html Niku iri ramen and Sparerib ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco19/messages/79942.html Sparerib ramen
9. Gen Ramen, Fremont
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco32/messages/114732.html Pork belly shoyu ramen
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco20/messages/82034.html Takana kimchee ramen and Gen ramen
10. BY Grill, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco35/messages/124231.html Tonpo pork tonkotsu ramen
11.Norikonoko, Berkeley
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/134709.html Shoyu ramen
12.Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/74958.html Pork flavor ramen special
13.Oyaji, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/124680.html Tonkotsu ramen
14.Maru Ichi, Milpitas
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/124749.html Basic kuro ramen
15.Tomoe, San Rafael
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/74867.html Shoyu ramen
16.Ringer Hut, San Jose
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/113661.html Nagasaki champon
17.Ramen Club, Burlingame
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco17/messages/72649.html Shio ramen and Mini super shoyu ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/144938.html Won ton (shio) ramen
18.Tazaki Sushi, San Francisco
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/133992.html Moriawase ramen
19. Ramen Rama, Cupertino
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/134559.html Ma bo tofu miso ramen and Tonkotsu ramen
20.Ogi-San Ramen, Cupertino
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/124239.html Stewed pork tonkotsu ramen
21.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco20/messages/80415.html Miso ramen lunch set
22.Tanto, San Jose
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/134284.html Littleneck clam ramen
23.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/115786.html Asari ramen
24.King’s Garden Ramen, Newark
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco37/messages/128355.html Cha su ramen and Spicy pork ramen
25.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco29/messages/106263.html Shoyu ramen and Miso ramen
26.Lakuni, San Mateo
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco30/messages/108503.html Shoyu ramen
27.Iroha, San Francisco
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/112836.html Shoyu ramen and Miso ramen
28.Miraku Noodles, Walnut Creek
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/135168.html Miso ramen and Pork ramen
29.Manpuku, Berkeley
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco26/messages/96310.html Champon
30.Tanpopo, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/77815.html Champon chasu ramen
31.Sushi Yoshi, Newark
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/127652.html Tonkotsu ramen
32.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco30/messages/109003.html Shoyu ramen
33.Oidon, San Mateo
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco22/messages/86857.html Miso chasu men
34.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco21/messages/83543.html Miso ramen
35.Kamakura, Alameda
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/136197.html Seafood champon and agedashi tofu
36.Tokyo Ramen, Milpitas
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco20/messages/82137.html Beef ramen and Tonkotsu ramen
37.Katanaya, El Cerrito
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco18/messages/76009.html Shoyu ramen
http://chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco/messages/138486.html House ramen and Kara-age
38.Hotei, San Francisco
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco20/messages/80185.html Pork ramen
39.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley
http://www.chowhound.com/california/boards/sanfrancisco30/messages/108064.html Spam ramen

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/33749#151121

Image: http://home.earthlink.net/~melaniewon...

  1. m
    mikeop34 Aug 10, 2005 03:13 AM

    Fantastic report! Look forward to trying some of this stuff for myself

    1. c
      Cary Aug 9, 2005 06:27 PM

      awesome. thanks for putting all the links to your previous reviews. saves me some time.

      I've always wanted to try the real taishoken tsukemen...

      1. d
        dd Aug 8, 2005 01:15 PM

        Tsukemen was one of my favorite foods when I was doing a lot travelling to and from Okinawa back in the 80's. I was never able to find it anywhere until I came upon this post today. Now I must hurry over there to try it. Though from the picture it does look different, it may be because it is not exactly the Okinawa style. The detailed description does sound like what I've been missing for so long. Thanks Melanie for the info.

        4 Replies
        1. re: dd
          s
          Shep Aug 8, 2005 02:09 PM

          I had the opportunity to try something like this on Okinawa in 1968. It was served more as a bar food, and consisted of pre-cooked soba without garnish, and a bowl of strong miso broth (I'm guessing it was miso). There were several sides served separately, similar as I recall to Korean sides. I remember pickled udon, that's about it. Procedure was to add a little side dish to a pinch of noodles, dip to heat and soften, and eat. This was before I ever learned to use chopsticks, and having taken on board a considerable volume of beer, I was something of a spectacle.

          The Japanese historical dramas I've seen on TV often show people eating exactly the same thing, served in roadhouses and inns.

          1. re: dd
            m
            Melanie Wong Aug 8, 2005 10:43 PM

            It was new to me. Didn't know anything about it until I got home from Ryowa and googled. Any hints for fumble fingers like Shep and me to eat this more gracefully?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              s
              Shep Aug 9, 2005 10:42 AM

              Although I have attained a child's competence with k'uai-tzu, I find it expedient to carry at all times a small set of tongs, such as might be used for ice cubes, to assist in moments of noodle crisis. (^_^)

              1. re: Shep
                s
                Shep Aug 9, 2005 01:36 PM

                Chopstick panic
                Noodles dropping into lap
                Thus the link below.

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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