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Tantanmen Vs. Tonkotsu Ramen

Ramen is so diverse, and the various components could vary widely.

The broth could come in different flavors, the noodles can have different thicknesses, and the toppings are versatile and could include a wide range of ingredients.  

Some regions also have their own unique ramen styles.

Tantanmen and tonkotsu ramen are both types of ramen popular in Japan.  

These varieties of ramen are known for their rich and flavorful broth.

Tantanmen typically features a spicy broth, while tonkotsu has a creamy broth made by simmering pork bones for a lengthy period. 

In this post, we explore these varieties of ramen further and highlight the features that set them apart.

What is tantanmen?

Tantanmen is a type of ramen that originated in China but is very popular in Japan. 

It is considered a spicy and flavorful variation of traditional ramen.  

The ramen noodles are served in a spicy broth that is sesame-based.

Tantanmen broth is typically made from a combination of chicken or pork broth, sesame oil, soy sauce and chili oil.  

The broth is known for its spicy flavor profile. Tantanmen broth is incredibly spicy due to the addition of ingredients like chili oil, chili peppers, and sometimes Sichuan peppercorns.  

The choice of ramen noodles for tantanmen can vary, and it could range from thin to wide depending on personal preference.

The toppings for this ramen typically feature ground pork, green onions, and sometimes Bok choy. 

What is tonkotsu ramen?

Tonkotsu is a traditional Japanese ramen. 

The name “tonkotsu” translates to “pork bone” in Japanese.  

Tonkotsu ramen is characterized by a broth with a milky appearance and an intense pork flavor.  

The broth has a creamy consistency which is achieved by simmering pork bones for an extended period of time. 

Simmering the pork bones releases the protein collagen which adds to the thickness of the tonkotsu broth. 

Sometimes, other ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and scallions are added to enhance the taste of the broth. 

Tonkotsu ramen is commonly served with thin ramen noodles. 

The toppings include slices of pork belly, green onions, mushrooms and boiled egg.  

Difference between tantanmen and tonkotsu ramen

The differences between these two varieties of ramen can be found in their broth, flavor profile, and also their toppings.  


Tonkotsu broth is made from simmering pork bones for an extended period, resulting in a rich and creamy consistency while tantanmen broth typically features a combination chicken broth, sesame paste, soy sauce, chili oil and other spicy ingredients which gives the broth its spicy flavor profile 


Tantanmen and tonkotsu ramen have different flavor profiles. 

While tonkotsu ramen has a savory, deeply pork flavored broth, resulting from long-simmered pork bones. Tantanmen features a spicy, nutty taste from the sesame base and spices. 


Although the toppings could vary widely, tantanmen often features ground pork, green onions, and sometimes Bok choy.

Tonkotsu ramen is commonly topped with sliced pork belly, green onions, mushrooms and boiled egg.