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Spicy Ramen Perfection at Kikanbo in Tokyo

Spicy ramen doesn’t get better than Kikanbo (鬼金棒). Their devilishly hot miso ramen is the textbook definition of “umakara” (savory and spicy). It’s life-changing.

Tokyo’s Premier Spicy Ramen: Ingredients

I remember the first time I ate at Kikanbo. I was blown away. Their spicy ramen is simply one-of-a-kind. For the seasoning, they use Shinshu miso that’s been fermented in wooden barrels. They then mix this with selected cheese, peanut paste, fish sauce and various spices.

Spicy Ramen Kikanbo - Big Pork
with Giant Slab of Kakuni Pork

Now on to the soup. It’s an elaborate blend of pork and chicken bones and several types of vegetables. The finishing touch is six kinds of red peppers, various herbs and spices. Furthermore, they add Sichuan flower (numbing) pepper heated at a low temperature.

Spicy Ramen Kikanbo - with a lot of Coriander
with Coriander

Hellishy Hot but Delicious

All these ingredients make for insanely delicious ramen. It’s not just spicy – every bite is a volcanic explosion of flavors. You feel it from head to toe.

Spicy Ramen Kikanbo - Devil Level
Devil Level Ramen

There’s a nutty miso flavor, a tingling sensation from the Sichuan peppers in your cheeks, the umami meatiness of the broth, and thick noodles to slurp it all up. This might sound like a love letter and that’s because it is.

Devil Level Ramen with Egg

Choose 1-5 for both spice (kara) and numbing pepper levels. Choosing 5 for both will bring you to Oni (Devil) Mashi Level. Proceed with caution.

An Interior to Match

Kikanbo maintains a fun theme that resembles a Japanese version of hell. There’s dramatic drum music, scary masks, and most importantly, hanging kikanbo. These are metal clubs carried by mythological Japanese ogres.

All of this adds to the experience.

Spicy Ramen Kikanbo - Interior

It’s very easy to throw in spices and call it spicy ramen. Kikanbo on the other hand has perfected this genre of ramen. The spiciness in their ramen doesn’t take away from the flavor. In fact, it elevates it.

Spicy Ramen Kikanbo - Masters at work
Masters at work

Kikanbo has two branches in Tokyo - Kanda and Ikebukuro.

Kikanbo Kanda Shop:

Kikanbo Ikebukuro Shop:


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