Two days earlier, I had eaten the blackest of black ramens. I practically had to balance it out with the whitest of white.
Takayama Ramen was number nine on Eater Vancouver’s Top 10 Try Before You Die Ramen list. On a Thursday at noon, at the top of an eerily empty open-atrium office mall complex, was my destination: a food court stall in the worlds oddest and saddest food court. I sat alone on the top floor of this– was it abandoned?– building eating my gyoza and Tan Tan Men. The broth was thick with sesame paste that gave it a nutty flavor, and it totally blew my mind. This was my first Tan Tan Men, and still probably the lightest I’ve had. While most are a punch of spice and umami, this was delicate enough that you could actually taste the sesame through the broth. (The pile of sesame seeds probably helped.)
Four years later, I still think about this ramen often. And the food court haunts my dreams like the Ghost of Retail Past.