Ask anyone in Tokyo where the spiciest ramen in the city is and they'll probably tell you it's Moko Tanmen Nakamoto ramen, or "Nakamoto" for short.
I got the spiciest dish. It's bright red. As I ordered, a group of young men came out of the restaurant completely pink and I think one of them was crying. Always a good sign!
Inside the restaurant, the waiters and the chefs wear red towels around their heads — probably to remind you that you're about to consume molten ramen.
And, just to really knock it into you, the ramen bowls have 🔥 ratings. The bowl I ordered had a 🔥 rating of 10. Great.
Also, they give you a bib.
This is what the 10 🔥 ramen looks like.
If some ramen shops in Tokyo are described as a "religion," the best way to describe Moko Tanmen Nakamoto's ramen is probably "sports" — it's a full-out gastronomical workout from start, to finish, to, uh, digestion.
After enough staring and contemplating what effect this might have on me eight hours down the road, I went in and slurped my first noodle.
"I have made a huge mistake."
Here's a close-up shot of what's going on with the noodles. They're soaking in a warm broth that's coating them in pepper flakes. After one drag of noodle, my sinuses open up.
Like slurping up a million red ants.
It's not so bad going down, but the immediate breath after I swallow is insane.
Around the fourth or fifth slurp, my neck and ears were getting red.
Also, it's important to point out, the portions are pretty huge.
By the time I finished the noodles, my whole head was a nice sweaty burgundy.
Then it was time for the broth. I was determined to finish this thing. Cleaning my bowl, however, meant literally drinking a pile of spices that had been collecting at the bottom.
I did the damn thing and downed my broth.
Although, it definitely took a few attempts.
Moko Tanmen Nakamoto ramen is spicy, but it's also probably my favorite ramen I've had in Tokyo. Just don't eat it if you have anything to do afterwards. I walked around the rest of the day feeling like a water balloon full of lava.