Updated: May 27, 2019
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Extremely Spicy Tantanmen Has Arrived in Ikebukuro! (Hachigen Hakkaku)


八玄八角'Hachigen Hakkaku' is a new shop that opened in April of 2019 in Ikebukuro. The restaurant's signature item is a Hiroshima specialty called 'shiru-nashi tantanmen,' which means 'soup-less tantan noodles.' The dish can be ordered at 6 different spiciness levels, the hottest of which is extreme!

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Taking the spice challenge at 'Hachigen Hakkaku' in Ikebukuro!

Attention spice lovers! As of April, 2019, Hachigen Hakkaku, a soup-less tantanmen specialty restaurant opened in Ikebukuro! The store serves a bowl of hiroshima-style 'shiru-nashi tantanmen' made with their own special blend of Chinese medicinal spices. The level of spiciness can be chosen from 6 levels, including 'Extreme,' and 'ludicrous (my translation of 極辛). If you're a brave spice-lover looking to test yourself, head to Hachigen Hakkaku to see what you're made of!

Can you eat the whole thing? Challenging the 'Extreme' spice level

'Shiru-nashi tantanmen (extreme spice)' ¥750
The soup is super red! The moment it was brought out, I was lost for words, staring at the painful-looking redness of the sauce. Bringing my nose close for a smell, the sharp spicy scent stung the inside of my nostrils. Apparently, the house-made Chinese chili sauce includes 10 ingredients, including ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine. Just looking at the bright red bowl is nerve-wracking.
After the first bite it took a moment, but then the spice began it's stinging attack on my mouth. The numbing pain that filled my mouth after just the first bite gave me thoughts of giving up. However, the refreshing aftertaste was a pleasant flavor of the 3 types of Japanese peppers used in the mixture, and the process of taking a painful bite and then enjoying the flavors suddenly became addicting.
This is a picture of the sauce in the bottom of the bowl, before the noodles were added. It looks like a bubbling bowl of magma, waiting to burn its way through my throat. The thick sauce is designed to perfectly coat the noodles when you mix the bowl.

For those who'd prefer a more mild, yet still flavorful bowl, try level 2 spice!

'Shiru-nashi tantanmen (level 2)' ¥650
At Hachigen Hakkaku, in addition to the 6 spice levels, guests can also choose between thin or thick noodles. The thinner noodles go well with the lower spice levels, such as the level 2 shown above. Even with greatly reduced spiciness, level 2 allows you to experience the special blend of peppers and spices without sacrificing flavor.

Thin noodles are signature to the soup-less tantanmen in Hiroshima, and they nicely soak up all of the liquids. Even without too much sauce, this bowl of noodles is packed with flavor!

7 types of toppings! Find your own perfect bowl of noodles

'Toppings' ¥100/each
Adding various toppings to the noodles to change the flavor is also a great idea! The restaurant offers everything from the most popular 'onsen egg,' to green onions, to Parmesan cheese, to natto! In total, there are 7 different toppings to choose from.

In closing

Hachigen Hakkaku is a new tantanmen shop in Ikebukuro with a special, house-made sauce blend that is packed with awesome flavor. If you're a spice-lover, you have got to try these noodles out! Check out the link below for more information:
I live in west Tokyo and spend most of my time thinking about food or going bouldering.

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