A few days before we left, we went to get our second bowl of michelin-starred ramen at Nakiryu. They have a solid menu, but are arguably most well-known for their tantanmen, which is a style influenced by dan dan noodle soups from China. Tantanmen is usually spicy, has chopped onion as well as negi (or green onion), and has ground pork as part of the topping.
The bowl of ramen we had at Nakiryu was at the very least, in the two or three best bowls of ramen we’ve ever had. It was absolutely stunning. Sam opted for the spicy version, while I chose the normal tantanmen; I did try his, but the spice actually made me cough when I accidentally inhaled it. I decided to stick with my own bowl after that. It didn’t really matter though because we both loved what we had ordered.
As you can see, the spicy one came with a mound of chili paste in the center. It contained a variety of spices probably including sancho pepper (similar to sichuan) and togarashi, among others. It had a kind-of smoky and mildly sour taste, but wasn’t particularly spicy (although it did have a bit of an after-burn). Still, when mixed in, it completely changed the flavor of the dish, to the point that both bowls were totally divergent even though the only difference was the chili paste.
Everything about the ramen was great. The noodles were chewy, and perfectly balanced for the soup, the meat was flavorful, and contained small pieces of nuts to give it a great, crunchy texture, and the egg was among the best we’ve had. Plus, the sesame-flavored broth itself was amazing, and was surprisingly light for a tantanmen, but still contained all the expected flavors.
We arrived about an hour before they opened, and were in the first group of people to be let in, so we didn’t have to wait long once it was open.