My friend Dan Zoot who lives in Aomori recently started a blog about tantanmen, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot. My perception of tantanmen is that it’s a spicy ramen similar to Taiwan ramen except that it’s been around a lot longer and the soup is much richer and tastier. I think the last time I had it was when I was in Yokohama, which is apparently the motherlode, so I’ve been ready to try it again.
There happens to be a place just a two minute bike ride from my house, next to my grocery store, that I’ve been meaning to try for a while now. Tonight was too cold to run around the castle, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try Dandantei, which doesn’t stay open late.
The place has a really nice feel to it, it’s non smoking and has lots of nice colorful and well-written signs all around. Strangely, the tables are just a bit too high for the chairs, making it a bit uncomfortable to sit down. I ordered the black sesame soup, which was 50 yen more, because I had never had it before. The color and consistency was identical to black bean soup, but the flavor was definitely sesame. Really disappointing, though was that the spiciness was exactly zero. I don’t know if that’s the way black sesame tantanmen is supposed to be, though, because to tell the truth, I don’t know that much about the stuff. Anyway, the noodles were decent and the flavor was not at all unpleasant. Next time, though, I have to try the white sesame, which just has to be spicy, I would think. I mean lots of the signs talk about spiciness and garlic, so I’m sure there’s something good here. Anyway, until next time.
By the way, one thing that really took this place down a notch was how obsequious the proprietor was, and especially the line “Wow, you’re really good with your chopsticks!” I really really really hate it when people say it. In fact, I think it’s the number one thing I hate about Japan. Number two is probably old men riding their bikes smoking a cigarette going willy-nilly in all directions on the sidewalk, completely oblivious to any other biker or pedestrian who wants to get by. Ah, but I see that I’ve digressed.
If you’re interested, you can see the (much shorter) Japanese version of this review here.
As for a Henry’s project. I don’t think Misen will work out too well for that, because it seems like they change the menu a lot. What I need to find is a place with a nice set menu that doesn’t change very often, and has, maybe 50-100 items or so. If anyone has any ideas, oshiete kudasai.