Tuesday, February 18, 2014

蒙古タンメン中本 Nakamoto: this bowl goes up to eleven

I haven't been able to eat ramen with Hearts these days, and this makes me sad. But! As long as there is ramen, I will not relent.

Nakamoto is a chain of shops famous for their spicy ramen which includes tons of red peppers and thick noodles. I went to the one in Kichijoji, but they have shops all over Tokyo.

Apparently, Nakamoto started as a Chinese restaurant which served spicy foods in Itabashi, but they closed shop once because of the master's health problems. However, one enthusiastic regular named Mr. Nakane was eager to carry on their taste, and he opened up his own shop in 2000 after rigorous training. Now, Nakamoto has lots of branches and many enthusiastic customers.

I ordered the Ladies' Set, which comes with a half-sized ramen...

Moko-tanmen 1/2 size set (580yen)

 ...and a half bowl of mapotofu. The price for this much food is great.

The signature here is the Moko-tanmen, which contains lots of vegetables and spicy tofu infused with a thick, starch-based sauce similar to mapotofu. Nakamoto is famous for having different levels of spiciness to choose from - 0 being not spicy at all, and 11 being that extra push over the cliff. Be very, very careful when ordering 11.

I'm a big fan of Nakamoto, and I really enjoy the spiciness and chewy noodles that give the bowl a little kick of sweetness. This is "energy ramen," which sort of explains why they are so many fans of these shops. Despite the abundance of ramen shops in Tokyo, there aren't that many famous mini-chains like Nakamoto, so they are doing something right.

Almost every item on the menu is spicy and is a little tricky to manage for spice-sensitive eaters. But be careful, since the contents are really hot! Don't sip from this bowl; just put the noodles into your mouth silently, or you won't be able to stop coughing from the heat and spice!

Tokyo, Musashino City, Minami-cho, 2-9-10
Closest stn: Musashi-sakai

Open from 11am-Midnight


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