Discover the Art of Making Menma: A Culinary Journey

Menma is a Japanese condiment that is made from lacto-fermented bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoots are dried before fermentation. They are typically served as a topping for noodle soups, most notably ramen. However, it can be used as a filling as well. Here are some recipes for menma. And don’t miss the famous ramen noodle bowl. This delicious condiment is a staple of Japanese cuisine.

Menma Recipes

Menma, the savory topping that elevates your ramen.
Discover The Art Of Making Menma: A Culinary Journey 1

Menma - Bamboo Shoots

Menma are dried and fermented bamboo shoots. It is a topping that the Japanese added to ramen from the earliest shops. It’s usually served as small, rectangular pieces of preserved bamboo shoot, though more and more shops are sourcing unique pieces like the tender tips or meaty stalks. You’ll find it dried (which must be reconstituted by soaking them in water) or preserved in liquid in bags, jars, or cans. Menma soaks up flavor, so rinse away whatever it was packaged in and season it with your own flavors. For a vegetarian version, use teriyaki sauce instead of chashu seasoning liquid.
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Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: bamboo
CookingStyle: Canning
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 103kcal
Author: James Anderson
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  • ½ cup menma unseasoned
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup seasoning liquid used for Pork Chashu or Chicken Chashu or teriyaki sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin sweet rice wine


  • Combine the menma, water, chashu seasoning liquid, and mirin in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add the bonito flakes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer the menma and its soaking liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before using.
  • Store in the container with the liquid in the refrigerator for up to a week.



Be sure to rinse away any of the liquid that the menma was stored or reconstituted in. The smell of menma can be notoriously funky, and you don’t want any of that affecting your ramen.
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Serving: 6bowls | Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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Alternative Method: Menma in a Slow Cooker

Let your slow cooker work its magic on menma.


  • 1 can (15 ounces) of bamboo shoots, drained and sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger


  • In a slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, salt, minced garlic, and minced ginger. Mix well to create the marinade.
  • Add the drained and sliced bamboo shoots to the slow cooker, ensuring they are fully submerged in the marinade.
  • Set the slow cooker to its lowest setting (usually “warm” or “low”). Cover with the lid and allow the bamboo shoots to marinate and cook slowly for 6-8 hours. This gentle cooking process allows the bamboo shoots to absorb the flavors thoroughly.
  • Stir the bamboo shoots occasionally to ensure even marinating.
  • After 6-8 hours, the Menma should be tender and infused with the savory flavors of the marinade. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Once your Menma is ready, serve it as a delightful topping for your ramen or other dishes.

Tips for making Menma

Elevate your sushi with menma’s unique taste.

Cooking Tips

  • Marinade Mix: Ensure the bamboo shoots are fully submerged in the marinade, and stir occasionally to promote even flavor absorption. This is crucial for well-seasoned Menma.
  • Patience is Key: Slow cooking is about patience. Don’t rush the process; allow the bamboo shoots to marinate in the slow cooker for the full 6-8 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Taste Testing: Menma marinades can vary in sweetness. Taste your Menma before serving and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar or salt if needed to match your palate.
  • Quality Matters: Select high-quality bamboo shoots for the best results. Look for canned or vacuum-sealed bamboo shoots that are tender and fresh.
  • Don’t Overcook: Avoid cooking Menma at high temperatures, which can make the bamboo shoots tough. Stick to the low setting on your slow cooker for tender Menma.

Serving Suggestions

A menma-themed bento box for lunchtime fun.
  • Ramen Companion: Menma is a classic ramen topping. Add it to your bowl of ramen for an authentic Japanese experience.
  • Sushi Sidekick: Menma can also be used as a tasty filling in sushi rolls or served as a side dish with your favorite sushi.
  • Salad Sensation: Incorporate Menma into a refreshing salad for an unexpected burst of flavor and texture.
  • Onigirazu Adventure: Use Menma as a filling in onigirazu, a type of Japanese rice sandwich, for a unique twist on a traditional favorite.
  • Menma Bento: Create a Menma-themed bento box with rice, Menma, and other Japanese delights. It’s a fun and delicious lunch option.

FAQs about Menma 

Learn how to store menma for future culinary adventures.
  • Can I store leftover Menma? Yes, you can store Menma in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To extend its shelf life, consider freezing Menma for up to three months.
  • Can I use fresh bamboo shoots instead of canned or vacuum-sealed ones? You can use fresh bamboo shoots, but they require special preparation to remove bitterness. Canned or vacuum-sealed bamboo shoots are a more convenient option.
  • Can I speed up the slow cooking process with a higher temperature? It’s not recommended. Slow cooking is essential for Menma to absorb flavors fully and become tender. Cooking at higher temperatures can result in less desirable texture and flavor.
  • How can I make Menma spicier? To add some heat to your Menma, consider adding a dash of chili oil or sriracha sauce to the marinade. Adjust the spiciness to your liking.
  • What do I do if my Menma turns out too salty? If your Menma is too salty, you can dilute the marinade by adding more water and allowing it to cook a bit longer. Alternatively, you can balance the saltiness by serving it with plain rice or in a less salty dish.
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Learn to make Menma in a slow cooker, the secret to enhancing your dishes. Share this Menma recipe and subscribe for culinary inspiration.

I'm James F Anderson, a noted sous chef from London and a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. My career began in a Michelin-starred Parisian eatery, where my blend of classic and contemporary cooking, using seasonal ingredients, earned accolades. Recognized in culinary publications and on cooking shows, I’m committed to mentoring aspiring chefs and delivering memorable dining experiences, marking me as a standout talent in the culinary world.

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