This sauce is a must for a number of Japanese noodle dishes. So easy to make, and so much better than the store-bought version!

Men-tsuyu literally translates as noodle sauce (NOT pasta sauce. Very different!). It is most commonly used as a dipping sauce with cold noodles, and as a soup base for hot noodle dishes. It can also be added to flavour nimono and other Japanese recipes.

The katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes) is added after the other ingredients reach a boil. This technique is called oigatsuo, or “following katsuo”.

Men-tsuyu (including many of the store-bought varieties) is often concentrated and must be diluted with water. However, our version below already includes enough water to be used as a dipping sauce (like that used for cold somen) so no need to dilute it. The ideal ratio of the three main ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, dashi) is 1:1:7, but feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes and the dish you’re using it in.

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for at least 2 weeks.

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Servings 4
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins


  • 60 mL soy sauce
  • 60 mL mirin
  • 420 mL dashi
  • 10 g katsuobushi skipjack tuna flakes


  • Put the soy sauce, mirin and dashi in a pot and bring to a boil.
    Men-tsuyu - Step1
  • Add the katsuobushi and immediately remove from heat. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
    Men-tsuyu - Step2
  • Pour the sauce through a strainer. If using for cold somen, chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
    Men-tsuyu - Step3
Course: Basic
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Basic

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