Fortune smiled upon me when I came upon this place. I walked past this shop on my way to Daiki (a ramen restaurant in Yushima well known for their shio ramen), the fact that Aun specializes in tan tan men and had a long line of eager customers caught my attention. There are many Chinese restaurants selling tan tan men all over Tokyo, but there are only a handful (that I know of) selling great tasting tan tan men.

Tan tan men originated from Szechuan, it is a spicy concoction with fiery chilli and tongue numbing shansho (flower pepper). Traditional Szechuan style tan tan men is dry save for the chilli oil laced flavoring sauce. It is said that Chen Kenmin (father of Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi) popularized tan tan men in Japan. Apparently he made it more palatable for the locals by adding a rich broth thickened with a fragrant and creamy ground sesame paste.

I am a fan of the tan tan men at Chen Kenichi’s Shisenhanten, but I can easily say I like the tan tan men at Aun even more. Tasty broth? Yup. Nice thick soup with a rich creamy sesame paste aftertaste? Check. A nice spicy layer of hot chilli oil? Lots of it. Generous amount of minced meat topping? Yes. Mouth tingling sansho? It’s there. They have a “level 4 spiciness rating” tan tan men, which is seriously tasty.

If you have some unhealthy love for sansho, they even have a “level 5 spiciness rating” tan tan men. Be warned that the increase between level 4 and level 5 is not linear. The picture above is of a “level 5” bowl if tingly goodness.

Other items on the menu include dry tan tan men, tan tan men with black vinegar and black sesame tan tan men.

Open from 11:00-14:00, 18:00-22:00 (Tue-Fri); 11:00-15:00, 18:00-22:00 (Sat) and 11:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00 (Sun, Holidays). Closed on Mondays.
Location: 東京都文京区湯島3-25-11

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