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Originally published by Doris Lam. Last updated by Annette Chan.
Tsukemen (つけ麺; “dipping ramen”) is a well-loved ramen dish in Japan (and in the Localiiz office, too). Consisting of two separate bowls of noodles and soup broth, the dish was invented in Tokyo by Kazuro Yamagishi nearly 60 years ago. In our own humble city, this dish has gained a steady fanbase in recent years, leading to an increase of tsukemen options in the city. After taste-testing all the top-rated bowls in the city, here are our picks for the best tsukemen in Hong Kong.
If you like your noodles and a bit more “rustic” (read: thicker, chewier, handmade), then Aya is the tsukemen spot for you. This tiny mom-and-pop noodle shop, which is owned and run by a former ramen shop owner from Japan, is known for its fresh noodles, daily specials, and the long queues that they inspire. Like other ramen-ya, Aya offers variety in the form of different soups—the shrimp miso is a crowd favourite—but takes things further with its inventively flavoured noodles. Previous flavours include basil, rose, lemon, black pepper, and chilli, but you can never go wrong with the OG buckwheat noodles.
For a taste of Wagyumafia that does not require membership fees, consider Mashi no Mashi, the restaurant’s on-site tsukemen bar. Instead of the typical chashu (チャーシュー; roast pork), Mashi no Mashi’s tokusei wagyu tsukemen ($150) is topped with Wagyumafia’s famous Kobe beef brisket, as well as toasted seaweed, a sprinkling of shredded cabbage, and half an onsen egg. The 12-seater restaurant, which was inspired by chef-founder Hisato Hamada’s childhood memories of family food trips, serves its noodles alongside a deeply flavourful and comforting wagyu broth enriched with fat and cartilage. Like most wagyu dishes, this is not something you can eat every day—but you’ll definitely be thinking about it in between visits.
Mashi no Mashi, Shop 1B, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2812 0500
If you like your tsukemen soup rich, prawn-flavoured, and celebrity-endorsed, do yourself a favour and head out to Ebina Tsukemen. Located next to a McDonald’s in a residential area, Ebina is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 10-seater restaurant that’s favoured by the King of Cantopop himself, Eason Chan. In case the little shrimp on the noren (暖簾; fabric dividers) over their front door was not enough of a giveaway, the signature ingredient in all of Ebina’s soups is a dashi broth made with dried sakura shrimp. There are three standard options for soup—miso, soy sauce, and tomato—but if you’re lucky (and early), you might be able to snag one of their coveted bowls of uni soup.
Ebina Tsukemen, Shop 20, G/F, Manor Centre, 213 Un Chau Street, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 3954 5528
Ramen fans will no doubt be familiar with Butao King, but did you know that the beloved chain actually has a sister restaurant that specialises in tsukemen? Located in the legendary Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po—you know, the one with the now-defunct rollercoaster—this tiny little restaurant serves up handmade tsukemen every day. Just like at Butao, there are multiple soup options which are handily denoted by their colours: Kakurega white (a tonkotsu-style broth with bonito and chilli miso), Kakurega black (the same, with the addition of black garlic oil), and Kakurega red (with a tomato broth, tomatoes, and chilli). There’s typically also a daily special, so keep an eye out for that and be sure to come early to beat the queues!
Kakurega Ramen Factory, Unit 7083, 7/F, Dragon Centre, 37 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 3487 0989
The Hong Kong outpost of this Nagoya-based chain has a wide selection of both ramen and tsukemen, but its most famous dish by far is the sea urchin tsukemen ($198), which comes with a cheesy, uni-rich soup and thick noodles topped with uni and salmon roe. While we think the portion is pretty generous, we’re aware that some people have an insatiable appetite for all things uni—and those people should order the two-colour sea urchin tsukemen ($298; pictured). To quote a different kind of urchin, “Please sir, I want some more.”
Fujiyama 55, Shop 7–8, G/F, South Seas Centre, 75 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2723 7737
We love Isaba Taifu for many, many reasons, and the ramen is only one of them. Tucked away in Mong Kok, you’ll find a capsule toy dispenser machine located outside of the restaurant. The prizes, however, are not toys, but free side dishes or even an extra serving of noodles, if you’re particularly lucky. The fun doesn’t stop there; as you step inside the restaurant, you’ll find Japanese signs (and even a skeleton) dangling from the ceiling and customer’s anime drawings and recommendations stuck up as quirky wallpaper. While the restaurant itself is known for their tsukemen, do note that it is only available during lunch.
Choose from original ($83), black sesame ($85) and tomato dried shrimp ($88) for your tsukemen base and circle your desired amount of noodles, as well as how much soup and green onions that you want. Be warned though—the serving size is bigger than other joints and you will be holding your belly as you finish your last bite. After you’re done with the noodles, ask a server to add hot fish soup into your tsukemen broth and cubed hot stones to heat everything back up for a final taste. Be sure to get your camera ready to catch the sizzling in action.
Isaba Taifu, G/F, 39 Fife Street, Kin Wong Mansion, Mong Kok | (+852) 2487 4488
Undoubtedly our go-to spot for when we’re craving a rich and creamy soup, Zagin Soba’s signature chicken tsukemen ($148) is a bowl that never disappoints. Often lauded as the best ramen in Hong Kong by numerous Instagram users and bloggers, the tsukemen features cold noodles with thin slices of chashu and shredded onion, paired with a steaming bowl of hot chicken broth with slices of chicken meat hidden inside. Although this ramen is on the pricier side, we think it’s well worth the price. given the quality of the broth and noodles. There’s also the owner’s attention to detail, like a washroom equipped with a bidet as well as mouthwash, toothbrushes, hair ties, and more for you to freshen up after your meal.
If you see crowds gathered outside, you’ll know you’ve come to the right place. This Michelin-recommended joint serves a fish and soy sauce signature Shugetsu tsukemen ($89) that is savoury with a tinge of sour to it. The bowl comes with green onions, half an egg, and slices of melt-in-your-mouth Kagoshima pork. Originating from Shikoku Japan, Shugetsu has three branches in Hong Kong and serves a selection of regular ramen, snacks, and tsukemen. The tsukemen broth is light, but a clear layer of oil rests on the top of the soup, which could get a bit greasy if you let the noodles soak for too long, so best dig in and slurp away. Those who like a kick to their noodles could try the spicy tsukemen ($89), which also comes with a serving of beansprouts in the broth.
When there are too many options, food quality tends to go down, but in this case, not only is Tsuru Kame (鶴亀) able to maintain high-quality noodles and broth, but they also offer a whole page’s worth of unique tsukemen flavours for fun-loving Hong Kong taste buds. For beef lovers, you’ll want to try the slow-cooked Angus beef with truffle tsukemen ($188), which includes 150 grams of thinly-sliced beef, bouncy noodles, and a truffle soup base. Seafood enthusiasts will savour the yuzu grilled salmon tsukemen ($138), or the tsukemen with prawn & scallops in bonito pork broth ($158). If you prefer the classic, no-frills bowls, they also have four staple tonkotsu tsukemen, each featuring beautiful slices of fatty roasted pork, bamboo shoots, and onsen egg.
Tsuru Kame (鶴亀), Shop L, G/F, Hanyee Building, 19–21 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 5115 8979
Despite opening a second branch in Tsim Sha Tsui last year, Fuunmaru’s Causeway Bay branch still gathers bigger crowds, due to their consistent quality and superior service. The restaurant offers six tsukemen staples, but the tsukemen with egg ($93) is by far the most popular choice. Served hot and bubbling every single time, the thick fish broth comes in a hot stone pot that keeps the flavourful soup warm until the end of your meal. When you’re done, order a bowl of their special furikake (振り掛け / ふりかけ; savoury seaweed seasoning) rice to eat with the soup, soaking up every last bite. While the noodles here are slightly thicker than the norm—which you may or may not prefer—there’s no doubt their bowls are worth a try, even if it’s just for the extra-juicy slabs of pork.
Fuunmaru, G/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2513 0693