RAMEN BŌKEN 7 | FIRST TIME WAN-TAN MEN
Tantan-men were thanks to Haikyū. When watching the episode where this name appears, I thought “oh man, don’t dish names like that without warning!”. Once in Japan, while walking randomly, I came across a restaurant offering the specialty. What I did not specify is that on the same day, same stroll, same street, 50 m away, I came across another restaurant, offering wantan-men. One consonant difference, it smells like running gag…
What is a wantan-men?
Wantan-men is simply the fusion between ramen and wantan. In other words, it’s a noodle soup with chinese dumplings, or a dumplings soup with noodles at the bottom. The two may sound similar to you but the second pattern may possibly be more evocative for those accustomed to Chinese gastronomy. Anyway, I’m totally there for that.
Let’s cut to the chase! Verdict :
Tantan-men and wantan-men, it’s not only a consonant that changes, it’s a whole new world. It’s day and night. For the first, strong, aggressive, unharmonious flavors that made me hate experience ; for the second, gentleness, voluptuousness, finesse, it goes smoothly. The tantan-men is the hooligan who come to create havoc, the wantan tells you “don’t be afraid, I come in peace”.
They were exactly as I like them, good size and good cooking (ie well cooked with a tad bit offirmness… I don’t know if it is clear).
The broth :
The salt flavored broth (shio) is just exquisite. It’s my first time tasting it so I don’t have any reference for comparison, but let’s say it’s light with a hint of fat. In other words, there’s body while remaining soft.
That is wantan – dumplings – and vegetables similar to spinach. Concerning the dumplings, I’ve nothing to say, they’re soft and delicious. Spinachs offer another texture that contrasts a bit while complementing the rest. This is the green break, much like the small salad that accompanies a steak-fries dish.
Side dishes :
I went twice : the first I tried the chashu pork slices on white rice bowl and the second, I chose a fried duck course.
- rice/chashu pork. A bit dry and sticky on the tongue, it doesn’t bring anything special to the main course. Quite the opposite actually, the soup helped make this side dish slide better.
- Fried duck. This time, the duck is the main course and the soup becomes the side dish. The meat is fatty and served with small vegetables so it goes through well. Only flaw, a few parts were a bit too fried but it was still fine.
The atmosphere, the service :
The restaurant is small in terms of size but you don’t feel squeezed. The staff is friendly, welcoming, accommodating. Irashaimasses* burst out on arrival and the arigatou gozaimasus* accompany the exit, all with enthusiasm and good spirit.
* Welcome (when you enter a shop) ; Thank you very much.
I don’t remember precisely but it was less than 1000 ¥ each time. These are sets (bowl of noodles with accompaniment or dish accompanied with a small bowl of noodles) so this price stays perfectly appropriate.
*RAMEN BŌKEN : ramen adventure…