Mentsuyu Sauce Noodle

mentsuyu sauce noodle
mentsuyu sauce noodle

Mentsuyu (めんつゆ), also known as Tsuyu (つゆ), is a flavorful Japanese soup base that forms the foundation of many soba and udon noodle dishes. Combining sake, mirin, soy sauce, kombu, and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), this umami-packed dashi-based sauce enhances the taste of various hot and cold noodle dishes. Not only is mentsuyu used as a basic sauce or broth, but it also adds depth of flavor to other traditional Japanese dishes like Oden, hot pots, donburi rice bowl dishes, and Tempura Dipping Sauce.

What is Mentsuyu (Tsuyu)

Imagine a piping hot bowl of noodle soup, or a refreshing plate of chilled noodles accompanied by a savory dipping sauce. Mentsuyu plays a crucial role in both of these culinary experiences. When diluted with water, mentsuyu transforms into a flavorful hot soup broth, also known as “Kaketsuyu” (かけつゆ). On the other hand, when served straight or lightly diluted, it becomes a delectable dipping sauce for cold noodles, often referred to as “Tsuketsuyu” (つけつゆ). The versatility of mentsuyu lends itself to a wide range of Japanese dishes, bringing out the best flavors in every bite.

Mentsuyu Sauce Noodle

Different Types of Tsuyu

A trip to a Japanese grocery store will reveal an array of mentsuyu options, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some common types you may encounter:

  • Straight (ストレート): This type of mentsuyu requires no dilution and can be used directly.
  • 2x Concentrated (濃縮2倍): These concentrated mentsuyu bottles need to be diluted with water, usually in a ratio of 1:3 or higher depending on the desired intensity.
  • (Zaru) Soba Tsuyu: Specifically crafted for soba noodles, this mentsuyu variety is perfect for enjoying Zaru Soba, a popular cold soba noodle dish.
  • Somen Tsuyu: Tailored for somen noodles, this mentsuyu variant enhances the subtle flavors of delicate somen dishes.

Mentsuyu Brands

How to Dilute “Concentrated” Tsuyu

Each mentsuyu brand has its own instructions for dilution, usually indicated on the label. Here are some general guidelines on the ratio of mentsuyu to water for different dishes:

  • Dipping sauce for cold noodles (Tsuketsuyu): 1 part mentsuyu to 3 parts water.
  • Hot noodle soup (Kaketsuyu): 1 part mentsuyu to 6-8 parts water.
  • Donburi dishes or Tentsuyu: 1 part mentsuyu to 3-4 parts water.
  • Oden or Nabemono (hot pot): 1 part mentsuyu to 8-10 parts water.
  • Nimono (simmered food): 1 part mentsuyu to 4-6 parts water.

For example, to make a dipping sauce for cold noodles, simply combine 1/3 cup of mentsuyu with 1 cup of cold water (1:3 ratio). Adjust the ratios according to your taste preferences, and feel free to add a splash of mirin to enhance the flavors.

How Long Does It Keep

To ensure optimal freshness and flavor, it is recommended to store mentsuyu in the refrigerator. Typically, the x2 to x3 concentrated types can be consumed within 2-4 weeks, while the “straight” type should be used within a week.

Homemade Mentsuyu

If you are unable to find mentsuyu at your local Asian grocery stores, fret not! You can easily make homemade mentsuyu from scratch using basic Japanese ingredients such as kombu, dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi), soy sauce, and mirin. Check out our recipe for Homemade Mentsuyu here.

Recipes Using Mentsuyu

Looking to explore the culinary possibilities of mentsuyu? Here are some delightful recipes that showcase the versatility of this flavorful sauce:

Japanese cooking is an enriching culinary adventure, and mentsuyu is just one of the many amazing ingredients that can transport you to the vibrant flavors of Japan. If you’re eager to explore more Japanese recipes and techniques, sign up for our free newsletter to receive cooking tips and recipe updates. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram to join our community of food enthusiasts.


Q: Can I use mentsuyu as a soy sauce substitute?
A: Yes, mentsuyu can be a flavorful alternative to soy sauce, offering a more delicate and full-bodied taste. It can be used in various dishes, such as Yaki Udon or Japanese-style pasta, to add depth and complexity to your culinary creations.

Q: Can mentsuyu be used in non-Japanese dishes?
A: While mentsuyu is primarily used in Japanese cuisine, its unique umami flavor can also be incorporated into other dishes to add a delightful twist. Feel free to experiment and infuse mentsuyu into your favorite recipes to explore new flavor profiles.

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