104. Japan: Tokyo: Tsukemen

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Tokyo, to me Tokyo represents the town where anything can happen, from the strangest food combinations like sushi kebab to the extremely traditional rules of some sushi chefs who elevate making sushi to a form of art! And not just food-wise also the fact that there is an entire neighborhood to dedicated to manga art! (it’s called Akihabara). Temples that several centuries old are next door to high tech robot restaurants. Geisha and Sumo wrestlers!!! There so many sides to Tokyo that it’s impossible to see all of them in one trip!

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Things you didn’t know about Tokyo:

  • Founded as Edo once upon a time (in the 12th century), Tokyo’s literal translation means “East(ern) capital.
  • As the annual Cherry Blossom Festival nears, television and radio reports include information on the “cherry blossom front” (sakura zensen), or the advance of the cherry blossoms across the different regions of Japan.
  • Capsule hotels (hotels that contain rooms roughly the size of a large refrigerator) can be found around Tokyo. Most rooms include televisions, wifi, and an electronic console.
  • Despite its popularity as a worldwide landmark and part of Tokyo’s backdrop, Mount Fuji is actually visible fewer than 180 days per year due to clouds and Tokyo’s air dust concentration.
  • Tokyo contains over 100 universities and colleges, giving it the world’s highest concentration of higher learning institutions. One-third of Japan’s university students attend school in Tokyo.

Tsukemen or dipping noodles as they are also called, are soo good and the perfect dish for a light hot summer meal! You can keep it simple or use as many condiments as you want. But it’s a lovely meal to share with friends or family passing around the little bowls. The sauce is what it’s all about, the best word to describe it is umami, it is sweet and spicy at the same time and just utterly delicious! I served it with leftover jerk chicken from the Jamaica recipe but you can use any left over meat you have, or roasted pork belly would be ideal!

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Ingredients

For dipping sauce

sesame oil
dark soy sauce (ketjap) 4 tablespoons
mirin 4 tablespoons
shao xing wine 1 tablespoon
powdered Asian chicken stock

1 chili (minced)
scallions (fine)
ginger (minced)
tiny squeeze of lime juice
ginger syrup

For condiments

cold noodles
cabbage
baby corn

soy marinated eggs
bonito flakes
leftover cold cuts of meat or chicken
mint
coriander
baked shitake mushrooms

  1. Start by pouring the sesame oil in the pan and stir fry the scallions, onions, chili, and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the Shaoxing wine and turn the heat up to medium. Stir fry a little longer before adding the mirin, salt, pepper, chickenstock, ketjap, ginger syrup, lime juice . Bring to a boil, and reduce a little.
  3. Give everyone a little bowl of the sauce and plate of noodles and the dip noodles in the sauce!

 

 

 

 

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