While Japan is home to a smorgasbord of delicious food options that never fail to leave us spoilt for choice, there are a few perennial staples that the Japanese always go back to.
Ramen is one of them and is considered comfort food; we mean, who can resist springy noodles doused in a piping hot, savoury broth? We definitely can’t.
Although we can never say no to a classic bowl of tonkatsu ramen, we don’t mind stepping out of our comfort zone and trying an unconventional version of it, which is why we were drawn to Tanchou in Osaka.
What makes Tanchou so different from the other ramen joints out there is that their ramen comes cooked with chawanmushi. For the uninitiated, chawanmushi is a Japanese-style steamed egg custard that has a silky texture. This bizarre combination undoubtedly piqued our interest and here is what we thought.
The quirky restaurant isn’t hard to spot; just look out for the giant egg! It is also conveniently located near Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel so it is a great place to fuel up at after a day of fun.
Like most Japanese restaurants, Tanchou has a pretty small interior that simply consists of a long counter and about 12 seats that are all side by side. Having a meal here entails a bit of a squeeze, but for the experience, it’s worth it!
You can order the standard Steamed Egg Custard Ramen for just 850 Yen, but we decided to spice ours up by getting the Steamed Egg Custard & Pork Ramen (1350 Yen).
Saying that the pork is fantastic is an absolute understatement; this fork-tender chunk of meat broke apart easily and was the epitome of melt-in-your-mouth. The fat-to-meat ratio was on point and the meat was jam-packed with umami which helped to elevate the subtle flavours of the chawanmushi.
The ramen and chawanmushi gelled surprisingly well together. We did, however, expect the chawanmushi to provide the ramen with a creamier texture, but alas, all the chawanmushi did was stick to the ramen in clumps. Also, instead of ramen broth, they incorporated the stock used to make the chawanmushi, which resulted in a concoction that was very light on the palate. As we prefer our broth to be on the thicker, richer side, we weren’t massive fans of it, but if you enjoy light soup bases, this would be perfect for you.
We also got ourselves the Steamed Egg Custard & Cheese Ramen (1350 Yen) which is essentially the standard Steamed Egg Custard Ramen that is blanketed in a luxurious layer of cheese. The dish is then flambéed, which melts the cheese and gives it a lovely char as well as an addictive smoky flavour.
They also provide you with a side of toast that you can use to scoop up the cheese and chawanmushi.
When mixed in with the ramen and chawanmushi, the cheese gave the entire dish a creamier, more viscous texture, which was a complete contrast to the silky and smooth consistency of the Steamed Egg Custard & Pork Ramen. We very much preferred the ramen with cheese as it added more depth to the dish that helped to elevate the light flavours of the other components.
All in all, it was an interesting experience that we do not regret. While most of the flavours were too light for us, it was still a pretty solid bowl of ramen that is worth a try.
3 Chome-8-7 Chikko
Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0021, Japan
Tel: +81 6-6576-6826
Daily: 11.30am – 4pm, 5pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Osakako