We love speciality shops, and here’s one certain to appeal to those who appreciate a big bowl of spicy noodles. Tucked behind the Shisenhanten Szechuan Chinese food deli counter on the 2nd basement floor of Daimaru Department Store is a ten-seat counter serving up food from noon until closing. There’s often a queue, so arrive early, or not too late, as they only serve 200 bowls per day. There are just two choices, both mouthwatering: Tan Tan Men or Tetsujin (Iron Man) Tan Tan Men. The former is Chinese noodles in a chicken broth soup with soy sauce (for flavor), sesame (for aroma), chili oil (for spice), vinegar (for zing) and zasai (for garnish). There are five levels of spiciness to choose from. The first is without any chili, so unless you are ordering for a child, we cannot recommend it. Level three and over are spicy enough to generate some sweat! The Tetsujin Tan Tan Men is soup-less and features flatter noodles. Stir the noodles thoroughly and sprinkle some togarashi (chili) or sansho (prickly ash) on for extra zing. Either can be ordered as a set including white rice and pickles. For desert, and to chill your taste-buds, try their anin-dofu (almond jelly).
Tokyo – Akasaka Shisenhanten
B2 Daimaru El Gala, 1-4-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 10:00 ~ 20:00 (L.O. 19:30)
Closed: Irregular (same as Daimaru Department Store)
Prices: Tan Tan Men 630 yen or Tetsujin Tan Tan Men 630 yen, Set (rice and pickles) add 105 yen, Anin Dofu 158 yen
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn108, Dec. 2007)