For ramen in Kawasaki (south of Tokyo), locals adore “New Tantanmen”. Branded as “Kawasaki’s soul food”, this spicy ramen hits the spot.
What is Tantanmen?
First of all, Japanese tantanmen is derived from Chinese dan dan noodles. Japans’ version has sesame paste and is generally less spicy than the original Chinese one in Sichuan province.
But here we’re talking about a whole other, “new tantanmen”. It hails from Kawasaki City, Kanagawa.
The group behind this tantanmen style is Ganso New Tantanmen Honpo. They started in the 1960s and now have 30 branches in Japan. Most of these are around their home turf of Kawasaki City. But there are some in Tokyo too.
Their “new tantanmen” is what you’d expect in an industrial city like Kawasaki City. It has strong flavors and the portion size is BIG. It’s not much to look at. But it is tasty! It’s also not as spicy as it appears.
This is even when you order the spiciest level possible (pictured). A salt seasoning carries a chicken soup with heavy amounts of garlic and togarashi (Japanese chili peppers). This unlike standard tantanmen, which uses chili oil.
The bright red sea of soup is adorned with fluffy egg. It’s everywhere. Besides this egg topping, there’s minced pork. The thick noodles are similar to Nagasaki Champon, another Japanese noodle dish. But they’re much chewier.
Side Dishes and a lot of Space
What’s fun about New Tantanmen is the ability to customize your order. You can add a stick of butter to your soup, for example.
In addition, they have a huge side menu. It includes everything from gyoza (fried dumplings) to chahan (fried rice) to yakiniku (grilled meat). Again, the theme here is hefty portions. One can expect a filling but affordable meal.
Lastly, Ganso New Tantanmen Honpo’s 30 branches are quite spacious. This is at least the case in Kawasaki.
All in all, “New Tantanmen” is a quirky ramen style. The group behind it might not have re-invented the wheel. But they did come up with a tasty ramen. For ramen in Kawasaki, consider trying New Tantanmen!
Ikebukuro (Tokyo) Branch:
Gotanda (Tokyo) Branch: