Day 5 – Lost in Ikebukuro, Cherry Blossom Rain, and a Gyoza Stadium

I woke up this morning with a craving for something spicy. Something hot to get my blood flowing and my forehead sweating. So that’s when I decided to go try Mouko Tan Men Nakamoto–a Mongolian ramen-ya guaranteed to make you cry! The Ikebukuro branch is about 5 minutes from the JR line. The directions are slightly complicated so try to find the best route from this map.

I ordered the shop’s namesake ramen, Mouko Tan Men, which is 3 out of 5 flames on their spicy scale. It’s basically a Mabo Sauce in a base of miso with plenty of vegetables. After 10 minutes my sweat and tears started adding to the soup. Of course I’m kidding, but I can’t imagine what 5 flames is like because I thought 3 was prettty darn hot. It was good, but not something I could eat everyday. It did a hell of a job satisfying my craving.

Since I was already in Ikebukuro, I decided to search for the gyoza stadium. I only vaguely remembered its general location from a map I saw the other day, so let’s just say that that map was worthless. I ended up walking around for about an hour and I won’t admit it if you ask me, but yes…I was lost. Being lost in Ikebukuro is not necessarily a bad thing. Not only were the beautiful Sakura petals raining down on me, but Ikebukuro is one of the best ramen towns in Tokyo.

When I finally found the gyoza stadium, there was just too much to comprehend. How can you possibly choose which gyoza shop to eat at. They all looked so good! I finally ended up trying one of them and as you’ll see in the slideshow, it almost made me lose my appetite. It didn’t matter. I was too full anyway.

I leave for Hokkaido in the early morning so I’ll need to get some rest. And I still need to pack. Uh-oh. Anyway, my next post will come from Kushiro so wish me luck! See you in Hokkaido!

8 Replies to “Day 5 – Lost in Ikebukuro, Cherry Blossom Rain, and a Gyoza Stadium”

  1. Cool where did you see it? The Tan Men was can be just as spicy if not more. But it’s a different kind of spicy if you know what I mean. It has flavor and it’s good.

  2. Oh, I saw the Ramen Girl a few weeks ago. Haven’t had a chance to write it up yet though 😛

    How does Mouko Tan Men’s spiciness compare to Orochan?

  3. It was worth the trip to go check it out. If I were hungrier I probably could have sampled some more. I did take some frozen ones home and I ate them last night. I forget which shops they were from but they were really good.

  4. Hi Keizo,Another great day and great report! 🙂 So ultimately how did the Gyoza compare with what you’ve had so far? Was it worth the trip?

  5. @rameniac: Hah! That is so true. Gyoza always tastes better with a bowl of ramen anyway. They should just combine it with the raumen museum.@壇:It was kind of similar but the mouko had tons more flavor!@Brian: yes indeed!

  6. I agree w/ rameniac, I stood in line for gyoza for almost 30 minutes once at some super popular gyoza place in Tokyo and my impression was still that I’ve had better here in LA.BTW, how did the spicy Mouko Tan Men compare to the spiciness of Orochon? I’m going to Orochon for the first time this weekend, so I’ll know then. 😉

  7. doh too bad you had a bad experience at the gyoza stadium! the one shop i remembered that was pretty great was called ‘ten-ko-gyoza-bou’. it’s probably been rotated out already… unlike ramen, i think gyoza is one of those foods where there isn’t a vast difference in quality between the japanese and chinese versions. the stuff you find in tokyo is essentially the stuff you can get in monterey park lol. although there are a few places here and there…

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