I went to Marumen with little expectation, especially because the location was in the middle of nowhere! I guess that’s what you’d expect from restaurants in Virginia.
What is Tsukemen?
Tsukemen (つけ麺?) is a Japanese noodle dish consisting of ramen which is eaten after dipping in a separate bowl of soup.
Essentially, the noodles and the soup are served separately. Tsukemen noodles tend to be on the thicker side and are usually served cold. The broth is, of course, hot. Why in the world would anyone want to eat ramen like this? First, keeping the noodles separate from the broth preserves the dense, thick, and chewy texture of the noodles. When you leave noodles in soup for too long, they get soggy! Second, the soup tends to be more concentrated in tsukemen, allowing you to cater the amount of broth you use to your own personal liking. If you prefer a richer flavor, you can soak your noodles in the broth – which, I’m guilty of doing. Third, the cold noodles are refreshing to eat during warm seasons. Although, I think ramen can be eaten during any season!
Review on “Astro Boy” with shoyu dipping sauce.
“Every bowl of ramen is made with paitan broth that has been carefully prepared for 14 hours.”
- Authentic Japanese flavor
When I visit ramen places in the states, I’m always haunted by how “americanized” the bowls of ramen are. Eating at Marumen brought me back to a distinct memory of eating tsukemen in Tottori Prefecture. Its clean and simple flavor genuinely made me happy to inhale the noodles while comforted by the memories of eating in Japan. :’)
- Density and chewiness of the noodles
The noodle’s thickness was about an 8.5/10. I prefer thinner noodles, but the al dente style made each bite as satisfying as you could imagine. The larger width of the noodles made it a little harder for me to slurp – I haven’t mastered the art of slurping, yet.
- Egg was timed almost perfectly
ALMOST perfectly. I’m so picky when it comes to the egg. The perfect egg (for me) is on the runnier side, yet firm enough to hold the yolk in place – until you bite into it. It also has to be bold in flavor, yet harmonize with the essence of the bowl. Marumen’s egg almost satisfied this criterion, although you could tell it was a little cold.
- Savory and sweet chashu
After visiting here three times, each person’s reaction to the first bite of chashu is “wow, that’s good!” It really is good. Deep, sweet and savory flavors are infused into the meat. My only critique is that it stands out a little too much on its own.
- Mediocre shoyu broth
Paitan, which means “white soup”, tends to be thick and cloudy. The tsukemen broth at Marumen was definitely thick and densely rich in flavor the first time I went. The third time I went, it felt like the flavor was lacking.
- Consistency was different every time
Why is it that the broth was different for each of the three times I went? I seek for consistency. Marumen failed in this category.
- Taste and absorption of the noodles
Although the chewiness was almost perfect, the noodles tasted a little bare. When I dipped the noodles into the broth, I tasted the noodles, not the tsukemen as a whole. You can counter this by drinking the soup with the noodles.
Globo’s Ultimate Rating: 3.2
Location: 3250 Old Pickett Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031
Yelp Status: 3.8 Stars, 680 Reviews