The spiciest ramen noodles in Japan!
A little shop in shin-okubo, near Shinjuku.
Can you body handle spice? Do you like ramen so much that you're essentially Naruto from the titular anime?
Well then you're in luck! I have found the spiciest ramen in all of Japan.
Learn Japanese - Spicy: Karai
You can remember it by saying spicy food makes you want to cry.
We discovered this ramen place in Japan after hearing rumors of it from the internet. Erica and I, your two Japanese adventurers, were well rested and ready to take on Nihon aka “The Land of the Rising Sun!”
I started the day off with a welcome surprise. Back home, a tomodachi (friend) had tagged me in a post that suggested a karai (spicy) ramenya (ramen shop) that was only two eki away from us!
I bet some of you guys just pictured Homer Simpson saying, “Mmm, Ramen,” didn’t you? You better have!
That's how I say it. Ramen is the donuts for weaboos. As addictive to us nerds as donuts and duff are to Homer Simpson.
Here we go...Ittekimasu! (I'm off!)
It was a beautiful day!
Getting to the karai ramenya (that's Japanese for spicy ramen shop) was rather easy, as Nihon is easy to navigate. Trains everywhere! And you're in luck that all the station signs are in English in Tokyo.
Also, this ramenya was only one train station (eki) stop away! Google Maps hooked us up with all the navigation we needed. So you simply have to swim past a sea of Japanese people and you're there!
This place is easily access from the Yamanote line, which is the most common train line in Tokyo. But be aware, trains in Tokyo are crowded!
Nihon has one of the finest public transportation systems in the world! It’s very rare for a densha (train) to be late, which is awesome, because the densha are the most convenient method of transportation. At least they are for me, I am on a budget after all. Admittedly, taxis are often easier if you've got plenty of cash, but they are slower during rush hour.
Meet the spiciest ramen in Japan!
It's called Gomaryu and it literally means devil ramen (or hell ramen). You have to wait outside for a seat because the place is often incredibly crowded.
Our Japan group waited outside for Gomaryu to open for the day. As we used the ticket vending machine (common to Tokyo resutoran) to place our order, an audible gasp came from the small crowd watching us press the very karai (spicy) buttons.
Well, only Tristan and I pressed "very spicy" - which, literally translated, actually said "hellfire ramen". Wonderful!
In reality, they were shocked that I had selected Mugen Ramen, the most karai option, because the spiciest ramen is almost meant to be a novelty of the place. I am positive that one of the other Japanese customers whispered, "He's a ninja!" under his breath. This is a common exclamation in Nihon when you do something bold or daring and want to exclaim it in English.
But, I really am a ninja... Business ninja. Anime ninja. Computer ninja. Haha, kidding.
But what would really get to you when you ordered the spicy ramen was the smell. It was delicious and slightly painful at the same time. Inside, the smell of spice and fire filled our noses, overtaking every other sense.
It was like breathing a warm hug... but a warm hug from a porcupine.
It really hits you all at once. Here's what death ramen looks like. It doesn't even look like ramen anymore, just a bunch of death spices!
Erica's lungs tingled, and she would cough from the aroma of the spice in the air. It was like breathing small pieces of fire.
Still, much better than second hand smoke.
While the other customers were a little proud of our choice of deadly ramen spicy, the shop staff were nonplussed. They expected tourists to order the ramen and not be able to finish.
We ordered. We finished it. We cried a little afterwards.
The Ramen: Final Stage Mugen Ramen.
You get your ramen after showing the staff the tickets you purchased from the ticket machine outside. The machine makes it so they don't also need to hire a cashier - the only people working there are the cooks.
Get your delicious ramen and dig in with chopsticks. There's no way to eat ramen with a fork here.
At Gomaryu something more than spice will hit you - you'll notice something else - this ramen is really good! Oishii! (delicious!) In fact, it was some of the most oishii ramen that I have ever had!
The ramen "broth" is made by marinating a pork bone broth for hours every morning. A little spice is added to the broth, but the spiciest spices are added to order.
Ramen in America is almost always disappointing by comparison.
Next time you're in Japan, you can check out Gomaryu for delicious spicy ramen - or simply google "辛い ラーメン" or "karai ramen".
Ryan Kopf organizes anime events and annual trips to Tokyo for AnimeCon.org