Friday 19 December 2008

tan tan men

Another one bites the dust . . . another 2008 food challenge that is!

With loads of help from my gal in Tokyo, Courtney, I was able to make this absolutely delicious ramen noodle soup.

I first ate Tan Tan Men at Ichiban Boshi, a ramen chain in Sydney, and I have been in love ever since. Spicy, Asian style Bolognese sauce on delicious ramen noodles with a fiery broth. Wow!

My own version was (of course) not as good as the experts, but for a home attempt it was fantastic. Definitely one to make again!

Now what disappointed me immensely was not the recipe but my shaky photography! I must have taken more than 20 photos of the tan tan men and the image on this post is the only one that didn't come out blurry. Sorry about that folks!

Tan Tan Men (Spicy Japanese-Chinese Ramen Soup)

Anna’s version of various internet recipes. Serves 2.


375ml chicken stock
200g pork mince
180g ramen
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon white sesame paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon doubanjiang (Chinese spicy bean paste)
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons tenmenjan (Chinese sweet miso)
1 teaspoon hot chilli oil
2 tablespoons finely sliced shallot (scallion), garnish


1. Heat the sesame and chilli oils in a pot.

2. Add garlic, ginger and doubanjiang then fry until fragrant.

3. Add pork and brown.

4. Next add sesame paste, tenmenjan and chicken stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer.

5. In a separate pot, cook ramen as per the packet instructions. Drain.

6. Combine noodles, broth and meat in serving bowls and sprinkle with scallion garnish. Eat hot.

Anna’s variations:
If you can’t find all the specialty ingredients then replace the doubanjiang with the Korean equivalent gochjung, the white sesame paste with tahini and the tenmenjan with a tablespoon or two of light soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.

This is my long overdue contribution to Presto Pasta Nights, an event started by Ruth but this week (the last of 2008) hosted by C from Foodie Tots.



  1. I just explored your blog (because it's actually an exploration !)and I find it really great !
    I love learning other countries way of cooking ans you present it really well !

    I had your link to my blog !

  2. Hello Anna, With so many new posts and recipes I am sure you have not had time to reply to my "Tag". I hope you find time soon to do it!
    Happy Holidays, Laura

  3. My husband & I just moved home from Japan. One of the things we've been craving the most is tantan noodles from our favorite shop, Ichibantes. We made this recipe and it's perfect! Thank you so much! Just one question...the ingredients calls for rice vinegar. Where do you add that?

  4. Tan Tan Men is NOT Japanese! It's Sichuan-ese from China! Try the one in Din Tai Fung - that's slightly closer to the original.

    The meaning of Tan Tan Meen is "mouthfuls of noodles" - So noodles is the key feature here.

  5. ~an* is correct. Dan Dan Mein is not Japanese. Tantanmen ramen, however, is Japanese. The difference being that Tantanmen is more of a soup dish with ramen noodles while Dan Dan Mein is a noodle only dish.

  6. hi anon - i agree completely. basically i've made tantanmen ramen rather than dan dan mein but at all the japanese noodle stores in sydney it's just known as tan tan men.


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