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Ramen Halu Special!

c
Cary May 6, 2007 08:22 PM

Just saw this on Halu's website. I'm definitely going to go really soon to try it. I've read a lot about the tsukemen style.

Copy and paste from their site:
TSUKE-MEN

We have created a new noodle for this special menu “Tsuke Men”. It is made from whole brown wheat brebded into our famous delicious and chewy thick noodle that is full of minerals and high dietary fiber. Plated of noodle is served with small bowl of dipping sauce and a cup of our clear broth. The breezy dipping sauce is made from plentiful fresh & dried vegetables, dried bonito, mackerel, anchovy, seaweed, chicken & pork with traditional Japanese fish broth & our original soy sauce. Please enjoy again the taste of dipping sauce of Tsuke Men with pour clear broth after all noodle was finished. This new noodle along with home made seasoned tender pork; Cha-shu, ear mushroom;Kikulage, seasoned bomboo;Menma, spinach; HO-rensou, Green onion;Negi & seaweed;Nori.
We will offer free ice cream with free choice to those customers select Tsuke Men during May 1st through 31st in appreciation of five years of HALU for your continuos support.

Perdon us, but limited servings of 24 orders per each Lunch & Dinner time. Don’t miss it and enjoy whole of Tsuke Men!

★ Limit 24 servings per lunch & dinner.

★ Please feel free to add extra toppings & make it with lunch special !

* Small serving $6.50
* Regular serving $8.50
* Large serving $10.00
* Special large serving $13.50 for couple or more for share
"

  1. Carb Lover May 6, 2007 08:38 PM

    Thanks for the heads up, Cary!

    1. Melanie Wong May 6, 2007 08:43 PM

      Cool! Sounds good for weather like today. Here's the thread on last years version of tsuke men.
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32392...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        c
        Cary May 6, 2007 08:45 PM

        Hm, I wonder if this year's tsukemen is served with the noodles hot and not cold. If it's cold/warm, it sounds more like normal soba.

        1. re: Cary
          Melanie Wong May 6, 2007 08:48 PM

          Let us know. Just be sure to ask for the clear stock at the end. It wasn't offered to me last year to wash off the salt and might have made all the difference in my opinion.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            c
            Cary May 6, 2007 09:11 PM

            Well right now my plan is to go for lunch this coming Friday. Maybe a few other chowhounds may want to meet up.

            1. re: Cary
              Alice Patis May 9, 2007 07:51 AM

              I might join you if you do an early lunch. I went yesterday and found the door locked. Doh! I must have an old takeout menu b/c my menu says they're closed Wed. So be warned they're now closed Tuesdays at Lunch and Wed at dinner.

              I ended up eating mediocre Korean at the Lion Market strip mall down the road since I also needed some asian groceries. When I got back to work, I found out Kahoo would've been only a bit further down the road. Double Doh!

              1. re: Alice Patis
                p
                PekoePeony May 9, 2007 03:23 PM

                If you had gone to Kahoo, we wouuld have run into each other :) Actually I too went to Halu first for lunch, but after discovering they were closed on Tuesday lunchtime, drove across 280 to Kahoo.

                1. re: PekoePeony
                  c
                  Cary May 9, 2007 09:13 PM

                  I told my friend, who is on summer break from law school to try Kahoo (he's another ramen freak) so he was already there, if you got there at noon.

                  He'll probably join me Friday for lunch at Halu.

      2. yimster May 9, 2007 05:04 PM

        Not sure which day I can go but I hope to make it. How early is the early lunch.

        1. c
          Cary May 10, 2007 08:28 PM

          Okay, so I jumped the gun a bit because I found myself free for dinner at a reasonable time so I grabbed my friend and had him put his name down on the list while I was navigating 280S back home. By the time I had arrived around 7:10 there was a huge line waiting outside, but my friend had just been sat at our table so no wait for me, and he already ordered a large tsukemen for me (and he got the same). The wait for the tsukemen seemed longer than for their normal bowls, and I think Halu hired some new help b/c I saw some new faces and overheard instructions on what to do.

          The tsukemen itself. A large plate with with big helping of their thick wheat noodle (and toppings as described above). The noodles were cool to room temperature, and the broth was only very warm at best. I was somewhat expecting a hotter broth/sauce. So near the end, everything was rather cool/cold in temperature. The broth is...well different and very fatty (although with no globules of pork fat floating around as in their halu-ramen). You can really taste the fish and meat components that went into the stock. I tried their suggestion of pouring the clear broth into the dipping sauce and then tasting just the broth by itself, and it tastes profoundly different. I forgot to taste the clear broth by itself before mixing, but it seems to be a chicken/pork based broth.

          Overall, I would probably try the special one or two more times before it ends, because it was enjoyable and tasty. Although for my fellow Chinese (or Cantonese in particular) noodle-freaks, who expect burning hot broths, they will probably not enjoy it at all.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cary
            r
            rameniac May 11, 2007 02:27 AM

            wow looks like i should take another trip up to the bay already!

            try asking if you can request hot noodles at halu, like fresh out of the boiling pot. places i've been to in japan will often give you that option. tsukemen is a popular trend in tokyo these days, and the shop that invented it, taishoken, just closed for good this past march.

            http://www.rameniac.com/resource/comm...

            1. re: rameniac
              c
              Cary May 11, 2007 03:59 PM

              Ah! i should have done so. The research I did earlier on Tsukemen showed the noodles steaming on a platter and that was what I thought was standard and what I expected. I will try to ask for hot noodles the next time I go.

          2. Alice Patis May 11, 2007 02:37 PM

            Report in a nutshell – Best ramen ever. Well ok it was tsuke-men, not ramen. But still.

            I shared a table with Yimster and two others he met while in line, a woman and her Japanese mother who made the lunch all the more interesting and pleasant. It’s so nice when you eat with perfect strangers and realize how food can bring people together who would normally not even bat an eye towards each other.

            But the real star was the tsuke-men, and if I was mostly quiet during the lucnh it was because I was somewhat lost in the tsuke-men. A complete understatement to say it was more than the sum of its parts.

            First 2 photos below is my regular size. Oddly, the small that the okasan at our table ordered looked the same. The large however was ginormous, the bowl of broth like a “train size” pho. The other photos show the green tea ice cream (next to the dipping sauce after the clear broth had been poured in), and a blurry sesame ice cream.

            Originally I was thinking of ordering the regular size broth but with small noodles, but when our server came, I decided a simple regular order is best since I wasn’t sure he’d understand. Good thing, because even with an order of “3 regulars, 1 small” they managed to mangle it into “1 small even though it looks like a regular, 2 regular, and 1 large).

            On to the noodles - I like my noodles cool and separate from the broth (actually I’ve started eating my pho this way by fishing out all my noodles and eating them as I go along) so I knew I’d be in for a treat. Halu’s tsuke-men noodles were toothsome to the end (of course) without tasting doughy at all, and I love that the slight curl gives extra texture & visual appeal. These are thinner than the halu ramen thick noodles. The whole wheat in it added a hint of nuttiness, but they don’t taste like whole wheat. Actually they taste like ramen noodles that are extra yummy & flavorful, it’s like if you were blindfolded you wouldn’t know it’s got whole wheat. I don’t know if I can go back to regular ramen after this. Wait that’s just the noodles!!

            The dipping sauce was ultra umami-rich with a hint of something acidic to dance around the tongue. I want to say it had black vinegar but no way is that right. It was less of fish broth and more of meat broth but way more interesting than their already complex tonkotsu broth. It was not unbearably salty and I could sip it plain (and I’m salt-averse). At the end after I poured in the clear (more like clearer) broth, it lost some of its depth but added another layer of flavor. And good to the last drop. After I drained the last drop I could see red chile powder among the bit of dregs, but I would not have guessed it had chile in it from taste alone.

            The toppings are as good as it gets at Halu, the chasu ultra tender but with a bit of meatiness still in the texture, and no strong porky smell. I normally don’t like the bamboo in ramen, actually sometimes I feel it ruins the ramen and I fish it all out, but, with tsuke-men, having it served on the side, I liked that it did not smell up my broth, and I surprised myself that I ate all of it. I especially liked that with tsuke-men, all of the nori is crispy as you go along. But the black ear mushroom benefited from being soaked in the broth from the beginning. A couple nitpicky things (just because life is not perfect): not much spinach (though that’s just par for course), and too much scallions; it was a tiny bit chinese-y in flavor from this. Yeah, I could have simply left aside some scallions but I’m nitpicky so I have to say something.

            The green tea ice cream had a nice gelato-like chewiness. Yum (though most probably store bought). But it’s free! All in all, I realize how much more l like tuske-men than ramen. Usually after I eat at Halu I’m thinking ooh, too much msg/salt/umami, I don’t think I can eat this again until next year. But this time, as soon I peeled out of the driveway, I was plotting my return visit.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Alice Patis
              Alice Patis May 11, 2007 02:49 PM

              And here is the photo of Lambert's large (after addition of toppings). Ok, "train size" is a little exaggerating. But it was definitely huge.

              (by the way for some reason, the numbnails of my photos are just the Red Chowhound Guys; usually the thumbnails are mini-versions of my photos. Anyway if you click on the first Red Chowhound Guy, the whole photo will open up).

              1. re: Alice Patis
                yimster May 11, 2007 04:34 PM

                Thanks for inviting me. Love this treat. The two Ladies were a treat to share a meal with. They share their time in Japan and neither ever had this verison of the noodles. A rich enjoyable lunch.

                Great and company what could be better.

                1. re: Alice Patis
                  r
                  rameniac May 11, 2007 06:14 PM

                  wow. that's huge!

                2. re: Alice Patis
                  K K May 11, 2007 02:49 PM

                  Doh...would've joined you all but I went to ASJ to try beef noodle instead. Great report! Maybe next time.

                  1. re: Alice Patis
                    c
                    Cary May 11, 2007 04:10 PM

                    Nice report! I was a bit tired to write a full writeup, but glad that you did! I had the sesame ice cream, and was surprised by it's creaminess (read: more FAT). I'm going to go back as well.

                    1. re: Cary
                      Alice Patis May 11, 2007 04:35 PM

                      I'm glad you had posted that the broth (dipping sauce) was only warm, I would've been disappointed that it was not hot. For some reason I thought tsuke-men is cool noodles, hot broth. Thanks to you there were no disappointments today.

                      Also, I thought these were thinner than Halu's thick style, but I re-read your post and you said it's the thick style. Hmm I guess I was wrong. It has been about a year so I guess my memory of their thick noodle is thicker than in real life.

                      1. re: Alice Patis
                        Debbie M May 11, 2007 04:41 PM

                        When the waitress described the special to me last month, she said it would have whole wheat noodles. Given their mottled appearance in the picture, I'm assuming that's what they are, as opposed to the regular thick noodles?

                        1. re: Debbie M
                          c
                          Cary May 11, 2007 04:51 PM

                          yes, the tsukemen is whole wheat with the mottled appearance while their halu-ramen is uniform in color.

                          1. re: Cary
                            Debbie M May 11, 2007 05:04 PM

                            Duh. I went back and actually read Alice's report, instead of skimming, and she does mention that.

                            I was too anxious to look at the pictures the first time!

                    2. re: Alice Patis
                      b
                      bouncepass Jan 4, 2012 05:43 PM

                      A little late to this party, but I tried the tsukemen for the first time at Halu today.

                      The noodles (I got regular wheat, not whole wheat) had terrific firmness, springiness and chew. Awesome.

                      The warm dipping broth was similar to how Alice describes it... and I concur that there was definitely something reminiscent of black vinegar in the broth. I enjoyed it, but missed the more full-on meaty experience of, say, their regular tonkotsu-shio broth.

                      The toppings were of two very thin slices of chasu pork, some nice cooked spinach, and some wood ear, menma and negi. Fine.

                      I'm hoping some other place can offer a similar noodle experience with an improved (to my taste) broth/topping experience.

                      Anyone tried the tsukemen at Orenchi yet?

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