Transformers at Toycon 2019

During the recent Toycon at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, I took time out to take a look at the displays of the Transformers.

To be clear, the Transformers I got oriented with as a youth was way back in the 1980s when the animated series (specifically Generation One) was released which also saw the rise of the popularity of the accompanying toy line. I also have fond memories of the 1986 film The Transformers: The Movie.

Frankly speaking, I’m not too fond of the modern Transformers that appeared in the movies directed by Michael Bay. As such, I took pics of the Transformers at the exhibits of Toycon with nostalgia in mind.

To enlarge, just click the pictures.

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Generation One Transformers mixed with characters from The Transformers: The Movie.
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Devastator (Constructicons), Dinobots, Insecticons plus some Autobots and Decepticons on display.

And then I found more Transformers on display for sale (along with other figures) at one of the vendors at the main exhibition hall during Toycon.

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At the table of one of the vendors.

Going back to the exhibit, there were two sets of the Transformers that really caught my attention as they expressed strong messages.

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I really admire this showcase.
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Yes to God!

In ending this, I’d like to read a verse from the Holy Bible for all of you readers.

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16: 31)

To the guys who prepared the Transformers carrying messages opposing drugs and expressing God’s love during the exhibit at Toycon this year, you did the right thing! Praise the Lord always! Believe in Him! Never let your faith in the Lord weaken!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

X-Men at Toycon 2019

During my time at the Toycon 2019 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City this past Saturday, I checked out the X-Men stuff. I am a long-time X-Men fan and that particular franchise is my favorite among all of Marvel’s superheroes.

As before, I looked for some back issues of X-Men at one of the few comic book sellers at the convention.

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Lots of old X-Men comic books displayed for sale.
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A copy of X-Men #1 (1991) drawn by Jim Lee featuring Magneto. I did not bother to buy this one.

After carefully searching what was available and calculating with my limited budget, I bought a few copies of Uncanny X-Men drawn in the early 1990s by Whilce Portacio. I intend to have these comic books signed by him in the near future.

As I went around the floor of the main exhibition hall of the convention center, I saw several X-Men statues and action figures. The one that caught my attention was the Dark Phoenix figure.

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Too bad the filmmakers could not find a way to replicate this classic Dark Phoenix form for the big screen. 

And then I went up to the 2nd level of the convention where there was one function hall that had several displays of toys and action figures for people to look at. Of course, the X-Men were there and here are some pictures I took for your viewing pleasure.

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I like this set up showing two opposing sides. I just wished Magneto had been placed closer fronting Charles Xavier.
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The 1990s X-Men look.
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Dazzler, X-Factor, Cable and some X-Men.
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Another 1990s X-Men set.
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I like the set up here with the X-Men and a fallen Sentinel.

For more X-Men insight, check out my Logan retro movie review, my X-Men #1 (1991) retro comic book review, my X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie review, my retro movie reviews of X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.

Check out my first Toycon 2019 article here.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Wonder Woman at Toycon 2019

This past weekend I managed to attend, for the fourth straight year, the annual Toycon at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Attending it was more crucial not only for me but for many other geeks here in the Philippines since the other pop culture convention – AsiaPOP Comicon Manila – got postponed to next year.

One of the first things I did after spending some time in the long line was finding the Wonder Woman exhibit which was at one of the function halls on the 2nd level of the convention center.

Here are some pictures I took for your viewing pleasure.

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The Wonder Woman Collectors PH exhibit.
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A close look. Even Artemis is there.
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A closer look!
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This one resembles Gal Gadot somewhat.
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This one has a dolly look.
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A nice recreation of the cinematic Diana.
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Wonder Woman on the horse looks impressive.
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Someone looks at the Wonder Woman exhibit.

As I mentioned before, Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero of all time and she is truly the queen of all superheroes.

As I explored the main exhibition floor on the ground level of the convention center, I found a few more Wonder Woman figures there. Check out these pictures I took.

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Cinematic Justice League Wonder Woman. 
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Wonder Woman in fighting pose.
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Wonder Woman mixed with the DC Comics villains.

If there were any shortcomings for a Wonder Woman fan like me at Toycon 2019, it’s the lack of Wonder Woman comic books. Unlike the previous editions of the Toycon, the convention this year had noticeable lesser comic book sellers on the floor. I was unable to find a single Wonder Woman comic book.

Before I close this piece, I encourage you to read why I’m looking forward to Wonder Woman 1984 (opening June 2020) and why I find the No Man’s Land scene iconic.

On Facebook, I encourage dedicated Wonder Woman fans to check out the Wonder Woman Collectors PH group, the Wonder Woman movie page, and the Movie Fans Worldwide group.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Vermosa Sports Hub Sprint Tri Images and Some Details (June 9, 2019)

Hi sports fans! The Vermosa Sports Hub Sprint Tri happened this morning at the very modern Vermosa Sports Hub located along Daang Hari in Imus City, Cavite.

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Organized by Bike King in cooperation with Vermosa Sports Hub with the support of sponsors Blackmores Philippines, Smart, hydration partners Pocari Sweat and Sip Purified Water, and official timer Garmin, the event was, as expected, successful. Participants and their respective family members or friends enjoyed the event and, as usual, the awarding ceremony was fun as before.

For you viewing pleasure, here are some action shots. Just click to ENLARGE.

Below are the other images…the awarding ceremony pics. Just click an image to ENLARGE.

The Vermosa Sports Hub Sprint Tri was the latest sports event to take place at the Vermosa Sports Hub which is the nation’s first one-stop training complex catering to athletes competing in international sporting events and serious sports enthusiasts.

The facility has a 50-meter swimming pool based on FINA (International Swimming Federation) standards and the country’s only International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF)-certified 400m track oval, a complete indoor training facility, and the 600-sq,m. Sante Fitness Lab, staffed by expert coaches, trainers, and visiting sports institutes.

Vermosa Sports Hub is an Ayala Land Development borne out of emerging trends: the rise in health consciousness and growing interest in multisport.

“People are spending more time and money to engage in physical activities, specifically sports,” says Ayala Land Vice President and Vermosa estate head Jay Teodoro. “We wanted to provide a venue for training for this market. Our bigger vision also is to provide a training venue for the next Philippine champion.”

The complete race results and lists of winners will be made available by Bike King here. Wait and it will come.

For other events of Bike King, visit http://www.bikekingphilippines.com

My Observations: Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019

This morning, out of curiosity, I attended the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019 held at one of the function rooms at the upper level of the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia (SM MOA) in Pasay City.

What I saw there was quite amusing. The large function room had just enough space for the exhibitors, the stage with sound system and lights and the food sellers. Of course, the available space in between was filled with many, many anime and cosplay enthusiasts! Some enthusiasts were seen seated some feet away from the stage waiting for the next event to happen like a cosplay contest, special guest appearances, etc.

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Buyers and enthusiasts searching for fun stuff.
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Another look at what were being sold.

Moving around got tight from time to time which reminds me how popular anime and cosplay have really gotten among locals as well as how interested buyers are with the products being displayed for sale.

As I saw some stickers (of pop culture icons and anime figures drawn by local illustrators) for buying, I had to stand behind a buyer who was searching for stickers and asked questions to the seller. There were three other customers next to him also standing right in front of the booth examining the stuff. After patiently waiting, I finally got to the front of the booth, quickly picked stickers (for some friends) and bought them.

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There was a lot of stuff that appealed to cosplay and anime enthusiasts. Cards, buttons, stickers, caps, shirts, costumes, cosmetics, dolls, action figures,  posters and a few publications. Those who purchased what they searched for clearly were happy. I searched from some Macross-related items but found none.

And then I took time out to photograph some cosplayers for your viewing pleasure below. Just click to ENLARGE.

 

A lot of people went on cosplay emphasizing their favorite characters from anime while some appeared as characters from computer games. These cosplayers really paid close attention to their craft with regards to capturing the looks of the characters they portrayed from the hair color to the make-up, the costumes, the shoes, the accessories and the like.

And among the cosplayers, I spotted someone dressed as Spider-Man. Specifically, the cosplay at the event was geared towards anime and computer games (like those online JRPGs).

Even though my interest in anime has waned a long time ago, it was still a nice experience to attend the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019. More than twenty years ago, I was a very avid anime enthusiast and video collector and back in those days, events focused on anime and some related interests were not that popular and were not well publicized.

Today there are these local organizations focused on special interests like anime and cosplay which can emphasize their interests and reach out to many people around the country via the Internet. When an upcoming event gets announced, the enthusiasts will respond and prepare themselves (and their money) for attendance. Not only that, there are now many local businesses willing to sponsor these anime and cosplay events. These developments show that there is now respect and trust for these kinds of events. If you ask me, an anime and cosplay event is more interesting than a city government-organized beauty pageant.

By the way, the Anime & Cosplay Expo 2019 has one more day left tomorrow. There are some scheduled activities set to happen. If you intend to attend at all, click here.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

My Observations: Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set

A few months ago, I had lunch at Sigekiya Ramen inside Commercenter, Filinvest City, Alabang. Many times have I been consuming Tsukemen or ramen at that restaurant which has been operating since April 2016. The notable thing about Sigekiya Ramen is that they maintain a high level of quality on their food (which explains why they use many imported ingredients) which, in my opinion, justify the prices.

After some thinking during my visit, I decided to try, for the first time ever, one of their rice meals and I ordered their Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

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The Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

It did not take too long for them to serve me the meal which came with a bowl of rice topped with chicken laced with teriyaki sauce and some sesame seeds, a cup of miso soup and a small serving of salad.

Slowly I took a sip first of the miso soup which tasted good. Then I examined the chicken on the rice bowl which turned out to be boneless. In terms of serving, the amount of chicken was generous.

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A close look.

 

Using chopsticks, I went for a portion of both chicken and rice. The result? A delightful taste! I can say that the chicken and rice were both well cooked and the teriyaki sauce prepared was pretty flavorful. Slowly, I kept consuming more of the rice and chicken, alternating with the soup and the salad.

To put things in perspective, teriyaki refers to a Japanese dish consisting of fish or meat marinated in soy sauce and grilled.

Overall, Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set was a nice hit and I can say that I got my money’s worth.


Thank you for reading. If you find this lifestyle article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 Pics and Insight

As millions of people around the Philippines were focused on the 2019 National & Local Elections, the sprawling Clark Global City (CGC) in Clark, Pampanga was filled with excitement and fun yesterday morning with the successful Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 co-presented by Smart and organized by Bike King.

For the newcomers here, duathlon is a multi-sport activity composed of running and biking. The event in Clark yesterday had two distances: 6km run—60km bike—4km run and 3Km run-30Km bike-4Km run.

As with past multisport events organized by Bike King, the event handled efficiently, the field of participants was large (in the hundreds), the awarding ceremony was a nice attraction (with two emcees who are very talented) and the participants had fun.

What is also notable about Clark Global City is that it is located just a short drive away from the South Clark exit/entry of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). If you came from Metro Manila via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and arrive at South Clark exit, there is no way you can miss the CGC.

For your viewing enjoyment, posted below are random pictures I took from the event. Just click to enlarge.

I encourage you to visit and follow Bike King on Facebook.

 

My Observations: Lunch at Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant

Here in the Philippines, finding a place that serves Brazilian food is quite challenging. For those who live in South Metro Manila, the good news is that there is a new restaurant at the expanded area of Festival Mall, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, and it’s called Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant.

As of this writing, the restaurant charges P430 per customer for lunch (I forgot their rate for children, sorry) and P730 for dinner. Out of curiosity, as well as my previous high interest on visiting Brazil for the Rio Carnival and discovering their culture and norms, I tried out their lunch buffet.

As soon as I entered, I saw the buffet table and I took a seat by the wall. The interiors were nice and very notable is the use of the colors yellow and green (plus blue) which easily reminds me of Brazil.

The restaurant really made a lot of efforts emphasizing Brazil to the customers. For decorations, they posted several framed pictures on their walls.

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You like Samba and art?
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At the other wall.

THE FOOD

How about food? On my trip to the buffet selection, there was a mix of meat, vegetables, rice, salad and free flowing drinking (by the wall). What surprised me was the presence of Chinese-style noodles (are those really part of Brazilian cuisine?). For my plate, I decided to have more vegetables than meat. Picture below.

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Pork with caramelized onions plus cabbage and potatoes.

As I started enjoying my drink and meal, the restaurant had personnel walking around carrying metallic sticks (from the grill) with meat attached to them. Because there was this wooden object with its green end on top (red end below), one of the carriers approached me and asked if I were interested to try a slice of beef cattle tongue which I accepted since I wanted to try it.

I had not touched the slice as I was focused on my vegetables and pork. Some minutes later, another guy carrying meat approached me and asked if I were interested in chicken. I asked him to give me some and just add it on the small plate carrying the still untouched slice (beef cattle tongue). Then I took a picture.

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Two different servings of chicken with the slice of beef in the middle.

I finally decided to try out the slice of beef. It was pretty tasty and there was no need for condiments to add flavor. I slowly ate it and then I tried the gold-like colored chicken which, in my view, seemed fried. It turned out, it was very well cooked and was even more flavorful than I expected.

Eventually I got satisfied and decided to flip the wooden object’s red end to the top to signify to the restaurant personnel I don’t want anymore servings. I took my last drink. It was time to cool down, rest and then prepare to pay the fee. When I saw the bill, there was a service charge of P38.36 on top of the buffet fee which I paid.

While waiting for my change to come, I took another picture of the wall decorations nearby.

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More than a dance and a showcase of skin, Samba is a Brazilian musical genre and its most notable music feature is the use of drums done the African way.

Overall, I enjoyed my lunch at Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant and it was good taste and good value in return for my money. Definitely it is the place to go if you are looking for Brazilian cuisine or if you are looking for a different kind of buffet experience in Alabang. If there is anything lacking, I forgot to ask for their menu for other selections (I always wanted to try Brazilian coffee). Also there were lots of other grilled meats that I have yet to try. Eventually I’ll get them next time.

Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this news article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Coplay Photography (Part 1)

I enjoy taking pictures of people who express their artistry, their concepts and charm through the art of cosplay (costume play) which has grown tremendously popular here in the Philippines over the past several years.

Along the way, pop culture-related events like comic conventions, cosplay gatherings, cosplay parades and other related fan events got organized around the country giving cosplayers even more opportunities to come out in full costume.

Here in the Philippines, I was fortunate to attend such comic conventions like the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila and Toycon which are very similar events showcasing action figures, comic books, movies, TV programs, comic creators and the like. Both AsiaPOP Comicon Manila and Toycon are unsurprisingly popular events that attracted countless cosplayers.

Here are some pics of cosplayers I took in the comic conventions.

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Model and actress Ameera Johara as Wonder Woman during the 2016 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila.
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Also taken at the 2016 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila was this Harley Quinn cosplayer who posed for me.
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This Miles Morales Spider-Man cosplayer surprised me at the 2017 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila when I was searching for old comic books. I took the opportunity to photograph this.
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This picture I took at the 2014 Nexcon in Pasig City.
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This Wonder Woman cosplayer posed for me during the 2018 Toycon.
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Miles Morales Spider-Man and female Deadpool cosplayers posing with some fans during the 2017 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila.

Apart from comic conventions, there were also times when I took cosplayer photos in other instances or activities. Check out my pics below.

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A few years ago, Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City had cosplayers like this one standing in front of shoppers trying to get their attention and convince them to drop some money into the rectangular box on the floor.
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Harley Quinn cosplayer posed for me during the day when Comic-Con Asia had its press conference and media presentation at a hotel in Pasay City in early 2018.
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The Cosplay Craze event at SM City BF Paranaque saw these two “clashing”.

This is my first post of cosplay photography that I took and I hope you enjoyed viewing it. I’m still trying find other such pictures among my files and once I get them organized, I’ll post them here.

Also if you are organizing a pop culture event and you need online media and/or photography coverage, please feel free to contact me so that we can discuss business terms privately. Thank you.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.

 

Have you tried Tsukemen?

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When it comes to dining at a Japanese restaurant, sushi and maki often interest me. On April of 2016, out of curiosity I tried the ramen of Sigekiya Ramen restaurant located inside Commercenter, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The ramen was very good with its rich soup, pork servings and most notably freshly made, in-store noodles.

A few months later that same year, I returned to the restaurant and daringly tried something really new to me. Something I never tried before. That was Tsukemen. It was served to me with cold freshly made noodles (with a patch of seaweed and vegetable bits) and a bowl of hot broth that was pretty thick.

So there I was struggling a bit to drip the noodles into the soup and then consume it while using chopsticks (and sometimes the soup spoon provided). The struggle was worth it because the dish really tasted very delicious! The soup was so tasty, I never bothered to add some condiments. The noodles were so fresh and clearly thicker than most noodles, they were very satisfying to eat (pretty chewy) once they got wet with the hot soup. Since then, Tsukemen became my favorite dish to order at Sigekiya Ramen and for some time I’ve been searching for the dish in other Japanese restaurants in Alabang and BF Homes. So far I only saw two other restaurants serving Tsukemen.

What is Tsukemen?

Historically Tsukemen was invented by a Taishoken restaurant owner in Japan identified as Kazuo Yamagishi. At the age of seventeen, he came up with the concept of Tsukemen as a result of seeing a colleague consuming down the noodles after dipping them in a cup that contained soup. At his restaurant, in the year 1961, Yamagishi added Tsukemen to the menus identified as “special morisoba”. The experiment became a commercial success and the rest was history. Yamagishi died in 2015 and so far his contribution to Japanese and global cuisine won’t be fading away anytime soon. Slowly but surely, Tsukemen is making its way to more Japanese restaurants outside of Asia.

How to eat Tsukemen? Use the chopsticks to grab a manageable amount of noodles, slowly dip it into the soup, move them into your mouth then slurp it carefully. If this is too hard, you can use the soup spoon to help you support the noodles.

What you should NOT do when having Tsukemen is mixing the noodles into the soup to make it more like ramen. That’s wrong and improper. There is a good reason why the noodles and soup were served to you separately. Tsukemen is all about dipping the fresh cold noodles into the soup and then consuming it with a unique approach. Do not treat Tsukemen like ramen or like some other noodle soup dish.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share this article to others. Also please feel free to comment or ask questions.