You Have to Try This Famous Spicy Ramen in Japan
There's pleasure in pain.
Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto Higashi Ikebukuro Store
Kindai 2 Bldg. 1-2-15, Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Open from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto has been serving their signature spicy ramen for more than 20 years now. They’re so popular to the point that they’ve been featured in a number of television programs, and they even have their own merch!
People line up in front of Mouko Tanmen before it even opens.
The spiciness levels are indicated by the colors on the ticket machine. Blue: 0, Green: 3-4, Yellow: 5-6, Pink: 7-8, Red: 9-10.
Like most ramen shops, Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto takes your order via a ticketing system. While the ticket machine’s labels are only written in Japanese, the friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you when you order.
An English Menu is posted by the door to help you decide. The number on the bottom right corresponds to the bowl’s spiciness levels.
Upon purchasing the bowl of your choice, the staff will collect your ticket and guide you to your seat. Other than their delicious ramen, the shop is also known for having excellent customer service. The staff members are very hospitable and even provide their customers with hair bands and aprons for a better dining experience.
Check out their must-try ramen bowls below!
The Mouko Tanmen
The Mouko Ramen has a spiciness that makes you crave more.
The shop is named after the store’s number one ramen called the Mouko Tanmen (¥800). Its soup is a miso-based soup stock made from pork and chicken broth, topped with mapo tofu and stir-fried vegetables.
The natural sweetness of the vegetables balances out the spiciness of the miso soup. At level 5, this ramen bowl is already hot. The more you eat, the spicier it gets!
The noodles have a soft chewy texture, perfect for the savory soup.
Although it’s a spicy bowl, you’ll be hard-pressed to put your chopsticks down.
The Hokyoku Ramen is not for the faint of heart.
One look at the Hokyoku Ramen (¥830), and it’s clear what you’re about to get yourself into. This ramen is so spicy that the staff does not recommend it for first-timers. Its scarlet red soup is miso-based and is topped with slices of pork and bean sprouts.
At spice level 9, the ramen will make you sweat in your seat. The staff recommends you add vinegar to make it less spicy.
When you take your first sip, the kick doesn’t come as quickly as it does with the Mouko Tanmen. It’s only after a few more bites that the intense spiciness of the ramen hits you.
Despite the ramen’s spiciness, the explosion of flavors from the dish will make you finish it in its entirety. What’s more, the savory pork slices go very well with the soup and noodles.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto has developed a loyal following. The food in itself is addicting, and the customer service is on point. Besides these factors, part of what keeps customers coming back is the merchandise they offer through a point system.
The point card doesn’t expire, so foreign fans can collect points as they visit.
They have also released an instant ramen version of their Mouko Tanmen sold in convenience stores.
If you’re not a fan of spicy ramen, the shop also serves non-spicy options made for those with a more sensitive palate. They also have a takeout menu for those who want to enjoy their food on the go. With so many branches in the Kanto area, there’s no way you can miss eating at Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto.
Provided by Karaksa Media Partner (28 February 2019)