Eating ramen in Duesseldorf

Miso ramen with pork at Takumi

Although Duesseldorf is between 2 and 3 hours away from us (depending on 1. traffic, and 2. how fast you like to drive on the autobahn), it is worth the trip just for the Japanese ramen. It’s not a huge city, but it has the largest concentration of Japanese expats in Europe.

A few years ago, our friend Steve was living in Duesseldorf and took us to a Japanese noodle shop. It was the first place I ever had tonkotsu ramen and I was hooked. Tonkotsu is the pork broth made with pork bones — it becomes milky because it is boiled for a long period of time, and the marrow disperses through the soup, making the broth cloudy. The broth looks creamy, and tastes incredibly rich.

Unfortunately, this sort of authentic ramen soup is difficult to find in the Netherlands, so Duesseldorf is the place to get it. I couldn’t remember the name of the ramen shop we had gone to in the past, but we found Takumi on Immermanstrasse (the street that is all things Japanese in Duesseldorf.) Takumi is tiny but you can’t miss it. Oh yes, the line of people freezing outside is your tipoff. (By the way, the day we were there, this was not just at lunchtime. We were nearby around 3 in the afternoon — still a long line.)

At first I was crazy disappointed because I tried to order tonkotsu and the server was like, “We don’t have that.” I think I may have started having palpitations, but no matter, I ordered a miso ramen with marinated egg, and a few more bowls: one of spicy soup and one of shoyu soup. They also made up for the lack of tonkotsu with housemade gyoza and karaage chicken. (Fried chicken fans, take note: karaage chicken will rock your world.)

The ramen soup was all delish (I think, not as good as tonkotsu, but it still hit the spot), and the kids couldn’t get enough of the gyoza and karaage, and were almost fighting over the marinated egg. All in all, well worth the detour.

I’d say there were about 8 tables total at Takumi. Here’s the wait at 2:30 in the afternoon. A good sign that it is one of the best noodle shops is that 1) the line was almost all Japanese expats at any given time, and 2) there was always somebody in line with a suitcase. That means of course that it’s the crave food: the first place one goes when returning to Duesseldorf, or the last place before leaving for somewhere else.

Housemade gyoza

Karaage chicken

Cute desserts from Relax Cafe (right next to Takumi): chocolate in the back, and a pistachio mousse in the front. They weren’t my favorite, but I thought they were cute.

Our trip turned out to be seriously Japanophile — I had to go to Muji (Duesseldorf is the closest one to us). If you haven’t yet, definitely check it out for beautifully designed and affordable housewares. I bought a little slicer and a cute little cast iron mortar and pestle.

Immermannstrasse 28
40210 Duesseldorf
+49 211 1793308

RecipeGullet: Tonkotsu ramen soup
JustHungry: Karaage chicken