This marks the start of our ‘Sino-Japanese’ Dandan noodles series. Said to be invented back in 1841 by a street vendor Chan Bao Bao (陳包包) in Tzekung Sichuan, China, and named after his way of carrying two baskets of ingredients with a pole (Dan) over his shoulder, it was the ‘father of Sichuan food’ in Japan, the legendary Chen Ken-min (陳 建民 ) (father of ‘iron chef’ Chen Kenichi (陳 建一)) of the Akasaka Shisen Hanten that brought along this sensational bowl to the Japanese in 1958 and pretty much made it his own subsequently by working on a soup version catering to the local palate, seeing that the original Chengdu mixed noodle version didn’t sink in too well. The rest is, of course, history.
LG made this visit to second generation Ozawa-san (小澤 孝太)’s Kisurin his first priority for the recent Tokyo trip once landed, and yet was surprised to miss it on a Saturday evening at only around 5 pm when the official close was supposed to be 9 pm, while stock lasts indeed. So yours truly made the same trip rise and early to reach there at 1055 am on a Monday morning and was surprised (yet still uncertain) to find oneself first in the queue. Thankfully the shop diligently opened at 11 am sharp as LG luckily occupied the closest counter seat to the stoves and guiltlessly ordered a Suntory Premium draft in front of all the salarymen in anticipation of the experience. Afterall, this is THE reigning ‘pure-play’ dandan noodle king in Tokyo according to Tabelog, even ranked ahead of the newly starred Nakiryu while situated in the competitive Akasaka neighbourhood. Given its background of being a 30-year history Chinese restaurant’s dedicated ramen joint, the wok-fried vegis made-to-order as toppings, very similar to the Sapporo style, is indeed the distinctive feature here. Standalone no doubt a very balanced bowl, it did trail Anh’s when it comes to spiciness and its soup base just a touch less tasty than Narikuya’s. What it lacks, however, it certainly compensated well with its ‘Chinese chef’s table’-like experience offered. Hitting it early on a day is certainly the best hedge against any disappointment.