You Have to Try These Spicy Noodles in Japan

Are you up for the challenge?

f you want to try a different kind of ramen, try Japan’s dandan noodles. These Sichuan noodles have a reputation for being on the spicy side, so every slurp is sure to be interesting. Here, we round up some of the must-visit restaurants serving dandan noodles in Osaka and Kyoto:

Kikaijima Tantanmen
3 -14-11 Nishinakajima, Yodogawa Ward, Osaka
Open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last order is at 2:30 p.m.)

Kikaijima Tantanmen is a tantan-men (dandan noodles) specialty store. The owner, who had training at a famous hotel in Tokyo and the Fukurinmon Chinese restaurant, makes some of the ingredients, like the spicy paste and rayu (Chinese red chili oil), himself. The restaurant also uses rare domestic sesame from Kikaijima, an island in Southern Japan, to create the mild heat of the dish.

Kikaijima Tantanmen Blend (¥1,000). A rich blend of the Kikaijima paste in the soup with the meat miso, stir-fired vegetables, cashew nuts, and rayu makes for a strong flavor.

Shirunashi Tantanmen (¥850). A shallot-based soup with green onion shoyu. Order a side of Onsen Tamago (soft boiled egg) for ¥50.

This restaurant only has a counter and two tables. At night, it transforms into an izakaya (informal Japanese gastropub).

Ramen Toride Kyomachibori
1 -1-10 Kyomachibori, Nishi Ward, Osaka
Contact:  +81-70-6688-6289
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (last order is at 10:30 p.m.), and 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays, Sundays and holidays (last order is at 2:30 a.m.)

is a white milky broth made from blanched meat bones that have been boiled on high heat for several hours. Kai Paitan is made only from shellfish. Asari (Manila clam) and Hotate (scallop) are its key ingredients. The store owner based the taste of the dandan noodles on his own Sichuan cuisine experience. To make the taste more authentic, he added freshly ground peppers to the soup.

Tantanmen (¥980). Adding rayu gives balance to the aroma and texture of the Kai Paitan. The Sakura shrimp is imported from Nagasaki. Special potatoes are also added to this rich soup.

Toride (¥780 yen, ¥100 with boiled egg) is the shop’s signature dish.  It is topped with the smoked bacon used in Sasebo burgers.

The interiors are stylish with a cafe-like atmosphere.

Tori Paitan Ramen Jiyuaoka Kageyama
4F Abeno Q’s Mall, 1-6-1 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka
Contact: +81-6-6567-8584
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (last order is at 10:30 p.m.)

Tori Paitan Ramen Jiyuaoka Kageyama is a popular shop in Osaka. It won the Kanto Ramen Grand Prize Tori Paitan for three consecutive years. Their main dish is the Tori Paitan (Chicken Paitan), but they also serve other awesome dishes like the Paitan Dandan Noodles and Shoyu Sichuan Mamee Noodles. Side dishes add extra flavor to the dish, so be sure to also order the Sichuan Mapo Tofu Bowl (spicy Chinese tofu and ground meat), Annin Tofu (almond jelly), and Karaage (fried chicken).

Tokusai Tori Paitan Tantanmen ( ¥1,058). A mix of chicken stock, shoyu, and miso soup gives the Tori Paitan a mild and rich flavor. It’s best paired with Asakusa Kaikarou special noodles.

Tori Paitan Shio Soba (¥950). The soup is cooked with chicken wings for over eight hours.

The store is decorated in white and dark blue colors. Even though Japan has a reputation for having small spaces, this shop has enough space to accommodate everyone.

Tenjin Sasara
2-1-47 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka
Contact: +81-6-6353-2288
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Tenjin Sasara’s signature dandan noodles use sesame from a sesame shop called Wadaman, which was founded during the Meiji era. The soup is rich and refreshing. During dinner, side dishes like mapo tofu and lettuce fried rice are also available.

Kin Goma Tantanmen (¥700). Oily gold sesame is used to make the soup rich and creamy. The dish is not spicy but you can add spice to taste.

Shoyu Ramen (¥680). A simple chicken stock soup blended with three kinds of shoyu sauce.

Counter and table seats are available here. A drawn wallpaper of Hikaminari Tenjin will greet you upon entering the store.

Shigeru Tenobemen
3-4-6 Ohama Kitamachi, Sakai Ward, Osaka
Contact: +81- 7-2242-4474
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The owner had 16 years of career experience at a famous Japanese restaurant before starting Shigeru Tenobemen. He went to China to learn how to cook ranshu ramen and added his own touch by using rare tenobe (handmade noodles). For the soup, he uses pork, chicken, and paitan as base.

Tantanmen (¥850). The store uses chicken feet and pig’s head to create the paitan soup. Sadly, the handmade noodles are limited to only 10 bowls a day.

Shisen Mara Tanmen (¥750). It is a peppery soy sauce-based soup that might make your lips a little bit numb.

Tatami seats and counters are available inside the store. If you sit at the counter, you may catch the owner making his homemade noodles.

Menya Kirameki – Kyoto Sanjo Honten
435-3 Ebisu, Chukyo Ward, Kyoto
Contact: +81- 075-744-6199
Open from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (last order)

Menya Kirameki – Kyoto Sanjo Honten is the sixth branch of the Kirameki Group in Kyoto. They serve a collaboration menu with Gingo Ramen Kubota using homemade noodles with 100 percent wheat flour from Hokkaido.

Noko Tantanmen (¥880). 

This is the first collaboration dish with Gingo Ramen Kubota. Kirameki made the rich soup and noodles while Kubota made the sauce and the mince. There are two dish sizes to choose from. Small (100g) for ¥830 and large (200g) for ¥980.

Taiwan Mazesoba (¥780). Comes in small, regular, large, and special sizes. It is served with rice.

The store is located in the center of Kyoto at the Kawaramachi Sanjo intersection.

Provided by Japan Walker™ and Kansai Walker (September 19, 2017)

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