[ Food Review — Going to a ramen shop for its non-ramen dishes! ] Anyone else completely flummoxed by what to eat given the constantly dithering weather? After deliberating, we came to a conclusion: We want agedashi tofu. But because Sushi Tei’s version leaves a lot to be desired, and we weren’t looking to travel too far, we found ourselves at the closest alternative: Sanpoutei at Holland!

So no, we didn’t go to a ramen shop for its ramen. We went there primarily because they’ve agedashi tofu, and also because we could pair hot and cold items from their menu. (Onigiri and tsukemen are technically not h o t food, right?)

Since I already did an in-depth review of Sanpoutei’s ramen in an earlier post, I’m just going to summarise my Nikumori Spicy-Rich Miso Ramen as deeply flavourful and smooth, and great for equalising the fat bits in the broth.

A certain someone’s Dried Sardine Tsukemen was honestly more enticing than my order. (Fun fact, it ranks in my top 3 items from SPT!) Pairing its Niigata heritage with contemporary Tokyo sensibilities, this allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds: You get to taste the intense resonant flavours of the concentrated sardine dip without committing to a large bowl’s worth, and you can enjoy SPT’s sprightly noodles without investing in a hot bowl of soup in SG’s heat. Our only complaint was (and is) how small the dip bowl was, heh.

Onto the main reason for our visit: the agedashi tofu! For folks who love textural contrasts without wanting tempura batter, this is a great alternative. By covering tofu cubes in a light dusting of potato starch, you end up with a diaphanous layer that is more crisp than crunchy. Served in tentsuyu — or tempura dipping sauce — it is a light and easy dish that’s fun to eat and pairs well with most mains.

SPT’s covered all traditional aspects, and even elevated the mild flavours with a generous dollop of tarako (cod/pollock roe). The tofu was delicate and the broth was pleasantly mellow. My biggest gripe with it however, was how the nearly soup-like amount of tentsuyu melted away most of the crisp, turning the skin into a sticky web of starch. Shame, because the flavouring was pretty good!