Yunrimbo (雲林坊): the sister branch of the famous Chinese restaurant Kanda Yunrin (神田 雲林) specializes in tantanmen and mapo tofu
Located a 2-minute walk from the Kudanshita station. This restaurant is just as outstanding as the original location, but serves some different dishes such as the tantanmen (Schezuan dish of noodles).
The restaurant is so popular that it isn't uncommon for it to be full as soon as it opens at 11 AM. People on average don't stay for such a long time, however, so even if there is a queue, you can expect to get a seat in a relatively short time.
So much toppings on the tantanmen that you can't even see the noodles
This soupless tantanmen (汁なし担々麺; ¥880) is an authentic Sichuanese one. It has a generous amount of meat and miso topping, sesame seeds, and peanuts.
Mix it and you'll find some noodles covered in a rich sauce made from a sweet kind of soy sauce, four kinds of different rayu (spicy Chinese oils), and sansho (Japanese pepper). These ingredients are all from China.
The that comes first is the tingling sensation from the sansho, and then the spiciness of the rayu. Combined with the savoury taste of the tare sauce, the dish can be very addictive.
The thick noodles are made of 100% wheat from Hokkaido. The texture is pretty chewy, and the more you mix them with the sauce the more they absorb it! The texture-taste combination is just right.
You can decide the level of spiciness that comes from the rayu and hot peppers, and the level of tingliness that comes from the sansho. Try different combinations for a new experience.
Finish your dish with some rice
It's recommended to finish your meal with an order of rice if you're still hungry. This one which comes from a soft-boiled egg from Ibaraki Prefecture is just ¥150.
If you have leftover toppings from the tantanmen, just add your bowl of rice to it and mix up!
It's as if you're having a different dish all together with a milder taste.
This tantanmen is one of the best in Tokyo. Give it a try if you are in the Chiyoda area.