★★★ 光麺 (Koumen) - Tokyo
This is my second entry for Koumen on this blog. This time I tried their 焦がし担々麺 (burnt tan-tan noodles).
The Soup - is a pork based soup that is blended with roasted sesame paste to make it really rich and creamy. The soup is topped with a dark colored oil called ラー油 (ra-yu), which gives the ramen its burnt flavor. This ra-yu reminds me a lot of the burnt ramen I had at Nantsuttei or Go-gyou, though Koumen's burnt flavor is much more toned down. The soup isn't very spicy, probably only a 1-2 stars out of five.
The Noodles - are medium thickness, curly noodles cooked firm. A great match with the soup.
The Toppings - are some Chinese spinach, slices of spring onions, and roasted cha-shu pork. To match the soup they roast the cha-shu at very high heat, adding a thin burnt coating to it. The pieces of charcoal like substance that you see in the photo is actually the pork.
Overall - a delicious combination of different flavors and aromas. The tan-tan ramen is well balanced with its saltiness, spiciness and hint of sourness, while the sesame soup is a perfect match with the burnt flavored oil. However, if you want a bowl of really good tan-tan noodles in Japan then I recommend Asuka in Shibuya, their sesame flavors just seems fresher and stronger.
I also reviewed Koumen's other ramen dish 熟成光麺 (Jyukusei Koumen) in an earlier entry. There are ten Koumen stores located in Tokyo, you can find a store in near the train station of Roppongi, Harajuku, or Akihabara. There are three stores available around Shinjuku station alone.