While living in Tokyo, it became a craving to try and find spots to eat ramen with less salt and a change in ingredients. Sometimes the standard ramen needs some pepper in it. Japan’s noodle establishments seem to equate mince with spice aka tantanmen ( 担々麺) as I frequently found it as the spicy option among many options on the menu.
And I found myself eating this the most at most ramen or noodle chains. Ramen became quite a comfort food that even encouraged me to cook and enjoy mince in a different way that wasn’t in pasta or mixed with kidney beans. Eating with noodles and the seasoning accompanied in the dish really works so well.
Please note as I did eat those dishes in 2016-17, the names of the ramen and ingredients may have changed especially due to season. Even so while rechecking the latest names, these seem to be frequent dishes.
辛みそつけ麺 (Spicy Miso Tsukemen) @ ど・みそ、西新井 (Do・Miso, Nishi-Arai) ・￥980
Gosh, I have a lot to write about this one, it brings back memories. What I found very interesting was the noodles coated with pepper. The mince was well-cooked and mixed with the slightly thick broth. I was so glad it wasn’t watery.
The thing that lets it down is that it was a bit too salty. Eating spicy ramen in Japan really showed me that however the mix with the noodles, it’s always going to include chilli oil.
It’s good for it’s price and upon getting the spiciest, it really fills you up too so I highly recommend this. Definitely worth trying if you’re in Nishi-Arai and probably one of the best in Tokyo.
辛とんこつラーメン (Spicy Pork Ramen) @ 博多ラーメン (Hakata Ramen), Oji ・￥ 800
They provide you with fresh Char siu with your dish and spice is just right. Noodles are tasty and I was happy with this. For added spice, they have chilli oil that’s provided on your table. I wish it could be a little less cheaper though for the quality they give to you.
チゲ味噌ラーメン (Chige Miso ramen) @ 日高屋 (Hidakaya), Yotsuya 3 Chome ・￥630
I loved going to Hidakaya as this place, CoCo Ichibanya and Yayoi-ken out of a few restaurants provided delicious and very on the budget meals. To be honest, this was one of Hidakaya’s worst dishes. Lots of restaurants try to use chige or miso in their food. And since Hidakaya emulates a use of Korean and Chinese dishes (for example 中華そば) to their menu.
What’s lacking of course is the spice for the Chige Miso. As whatever ingredients are mixed in to make the chige ramen removes whatever spice is supposed to be inside.
担担麺ラーメン (Minced Spicy Ramen) @ 回高屋 (Hidakaya), Oji ・￥610
For me personally, it’s quite similar to the Hakata Ramen but more oily. The mince was nice but it tasted more paste-like so it’s best to mix with the broth and noodles and eat together.