While Tokyo is known as one of the best foodie destinations in the world (and for good reason, since it has held the most Michelin stars of any city for over ten years in a row), some flavors are harder to come by in Tokyo. Japanese cuisine is, admittedly, not known for its spiciness, and you would be hard-pressed to find a dish that can make your face go red. However, if you want to test the limits of your spice tolerance, then try out these restaurants with some of the spiciest food in Tokyo, guaranteed to make you sweat.
Magic Spice, an Indian soup curry shop, is renowned for dishes with high levels of heat and offers some of the spiciest food in Tokyo. Located a bit out of the way in a small district called Shimo-kitazawa, finishing a bowl of Magic Spice’s hottest curry is a challenge for even the most hardened of spicy food lovers. If you are looking to brave Magic Spice’s hottest option, be forewarned that before you can attempt to eat this spiciest of dishes (which is not even on the menu), you will be required to sign a waiver. Their spiciest option is only offered five times a day and those who try it are given caution before their attempt. So, if you are up for a challenge then come by Magic Spice to test your limits!
Kikanbo‘s ramen will have you questioning your perception of spiciness. The name of the shop, “Kikanbo,” refers to the metal club that “Oni” (Japanese folklore monsters) carry around. Once you are there it becomes clear why the ramen is referred to as “Hell Ramen.” Upon your arrival, the atmosphere may seem a bit intimidating, as you’ll be greeted by the sound of taiko drums endlessly pounding and your eyes will be assaulted by pictures of menacing Oni that cover the walls. Kikanbo’s spiciest option uses a combination of “Kara” (sansho peppers) and “Shibi” (Szechuan peppercorn), and the staff will ask you which you would prefer and what level of spice you want in your broth. If you are feeling brave, then make sure to max out the spice levels on both to receive a bowl that is rightfully titled “Hell Ramen.”
If you enjoyed Kikanbo, then make sure to head on over to Edogawa and try out Manriki, which is run by a former employee and apprentice of Kikanbo. If you were to compare these two shops by looks alone, you wouldn’t be able to tell that one was influenced by the other since Manriki’s calm and serene atmosphere completely contrasts Kikanbo’s fierce and intimidating decorations. Similar to Kikanbo, Manriki uses the combination of Kara and Shibi to bring heat to its dishes, but Manriki is also flavored by Indian spices and curry to create a one of a kind fusion ramen experience. Despite having ties to Kikanbo, Manriki has made a name for itself with its unique and delicious dishes, which have become known as some of the spiciest in Tokyo.
If you have ever been to a 7-Eleven in Japan, you are sure to have seen Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto’s brand of ramen. Go to Nishi-Shinjuku and you can get a bowl of Chinese-style ramen, which is known as the spiciest ramen in Japan, right from the source. Nakamoto’s has been open since the sixties and was closed down temporarily until the current owner and previous regular customer/fan, Makoto Shirane, begged the previous owner for the recipe of his signature spicy ramen. Now, with over ten locations in Japan, Nakamoto is thriving and its locations are hard to miss with their signature red signboard emblazoned with the Japanese kanji for “honesty” (誠). When visiting, make sure to order their hottest option, “Hokkyoku,” which is Chinese-style ramen served piping hot with mapo tofu, to make sure that you’re getting the spiciest bang for your buck.
The last entry on this list of restaurants with the spiciest food in Tokyo is certainly not one to be taken lightly, as Tan Tan Tiger uses a special combination of peppers and spices for a hot dish that will make your eyes water. At Tan Tan Tiger, their specialty is tantanmen, a dish with origins in China where it is referred to as “dandanmian” or “peddler’s noodles.” However, unlike the classic dandanmian, Tan Tan Tiger’s version of tantanmen is a soupless ramen, made extremely spicy. At Tan Tan Tiger, you can customize your tantanmen with an assortment of vegetables and, more importantly, you can decide how spicy you’d like it. Using a combination of habanero chili peppers and Szechuan peppers in their dishes, you can rest assured that at Tan Tan Tiger you will be getting a mouthful of blazing heat with every bite.
Francisco is a student who is currently studying abroad in Japan. He enjoys walking around the streets of Tokyo and discovering great places to eat.