This sauce is a must for many Japanese noodle dishes, and is also a catch-all flavour enhancer. So easy, so yummy, so handy!

Mentsuyu 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. However, mentsuyu also adds flavour to many other Japanese dishes, like nimono, tonkatsu, mizore-ni, and more.

Our mentsuyu recipe uses the oigatsuo (“chasing katsuo”) technique. This simply entails adding the katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes) after the other ingredients reach a boil.

Mentsuyu (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. Our preferred ratio of the three main ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, dashi) is 1:1:6, but feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes and the dish you’re using it in (i.e. stronger for dipping, weaker as a soup).

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

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Servings 4
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting + cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 100 mL soy sauce
  • 100 mL mirin
  • 600 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


Edited January 2021.
Course: Basic
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Basic, Japanese sauce, Noodle sauce

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