Tsukemen, or “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.
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 char siu pork 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.
Zagin Soba, G/F, 7 Gough Street, Central | (+852) 2447 1398
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, aren’t 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. The restaurant itself is known for their tsukemen, which 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
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 Spicy Tsukemen ($89), which also comes with a serving of bean sprouts in the broth.
Shugetsu, locations vary
When there are too many options, food quality tends to go down, but in 鶴亀’s case, not only are they able to maintain high-quality noodles and broth, 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 include 150g 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 and Scallops in Bonito Pork Broth ($158). If you prefer the classic, no-frills bowls, they also have four staple pork soup tsukemens, each featuring beautiful slices of fatty char siu, bamboo shoots, onsen egg, as well as green onion.
鶴亀, Shop L, G/F, Hanyee Building, 19–21 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 5115 8979
Crowned as “Champion Ramen in Japan”, Menya Itto may not have the best bowl for the price, but if you’re looking to have a romantic ramen first date, it’s the place to go. Facing Victoria Harbour, you’ll be enjoying a nice, scenic meal as you try to (elegantly) slurp up noodles. If you aren’t able to grab a seat by the windows, the modern Japanese aesthetics and bonsai tree-driven decor inside the restaurant are a close consolation prize. The restaurant only has one tsukemen broth on offer, but customers can choose between Regular ($138), Extra Egg ($138) or Premium ($168) for extra meat.
Menya Itto, Shop 32, LCX, 3/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
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 6 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 rice to eat with the soup, soaking up every last bite. While the noodles here are slightly thicker than the norm and could take some time to get used to, there’s no doubt their juicy slabs of pork meat will make up for it.
Fuunmaru, Shop B, G/F, W Square, 314–324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3188 1472