Yasuki Matsumura, the owner of Ozora, which celebrated its 4th anniversary in December, fell in love with a tantanmen he ate in Ginza in Tokyo and decided to open his own branch in Hakata. Ozora offers two types of noodles, one with soup and one without.
The soup features a rich, light broth made from chicken bones with plenty of sesame paste whisked in. It is the perfect partner to the chewy, medium-thick noodles. When you take the first bite of soup-covered noodles, the aroma of sesame fills your mouth, after which the lightly numbing Sichuan pepper and the flavorful five-spice chili oil start to make a statement.
The toppings of peanuts and cilantro accentuate the texture and provide a refreshing sensation, bringing the whole dish together in exquisite balance. It is no wonder that some customers come from far and wide to enjoy this uniquely titillating tantanmen.
With the soupless version, which is the authentic Chinese style of tantanmen, you can enjoy the texture of the thick noodles made with a heaping helping of egg-whites while mixing them thoroughly with the meat miso paste. You can also add some vinegar to adjust the taste to your liking.
Other toppings that Matsumura created based on suggestions from his regular patrons include the seared cheese and natto, and they both serve to complement the rich tantanmen. Although Ozora’s original recipe tantanmen is recommended, Matsumura is happy to adjust the spice level, remove the cilantro or add more noodles so that customers can enjoy their tantanmen how they like it.
Menu: Sesame tantanmen ¥950, soupless sesame tantanmen ¥900, steamed gyoza ¥480, beef and miso on rice ¥380, bottled beer ¥500
*Foreign language menus: English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese / Cash only / Reservations: Possible / No smoking / Take-out available