Have you already toured the curry houses of Jinbocho and slurped up Sapporo-style soup curry? If the answer to those questions is yes, you're probably looking to take the next step and move up the spiciness ladder. The 10 Tokyo eateries listed here serve up some authentically hot versions of curry, dishes that pack enough of a punch to make even hardened spice lovers break a sweat. Beginners: be careful. Veterans: enjoy responsibly.
The 10 best extra-spicy curry spots
Komagome's favourite Nepalese restaurant serves up a mean mutton curry. The light, somewhat surprising spiciness hits you from the first spoonful and keeps you in its grip until the end. As mentioned on the menu, anyone less than healthy should refrain from ordering this bad boy. Although the curry is hot enough to make you sweat, it's also strangely addictive and will have you coming back time after time once you get used to its kick.
Well-loved by area residents, this Yutenji oldie lets you choose from three levels of spiciness: mild, semi-hot and hot. The middle option is recommended for everyone except truly hardened spice fiends, who in turn can go for the paralysing top level. The vegetable base of Kanapina's curries provides slight reprieve from the fiery sensation.
Ueno's venerable Delhi is best known for the Kashmir curry, a devilishly spicy but delicious creation whose light soup even looks threatening on the plate. Although you'll be sweating – no doubt about it – the taste is not numbing enough to obscure the fine flavours of chicken and veg on which this dish is based.
The spiciness scale at this Sapporo-based shop has seven levels, with the uppermost two existing only for true spice-eating professionals. If you're tough enough to enjoy the upper levels, do be brave and go for the 'Aquarius', a special dish that's limited to five servings per day and boasts a dedicated fan base. The standard pork stew, which comes complete with loads of veggies and eggs, can also be ordered as an Aquarius version.
Ethiopia holds the title of spiciest curry in Jinbocho, Tokyo's top curry 'battleground'. Spiciness levels can be adjusted on a scale of one to 70 (!), but we cannot advise going anywhere over 20. At that level, the subtle flavours of the thick curry are still recognisable, while the spiciness still makes for a sweaty experience. Mix in the accompanying potatoes if you need hotness relief.
Revered for their soupy roux that contains an impressive amount of veg (although it's mostly cabbage), Ciao Curry lets curry-lovers set their preferred spiciness on a 50-level scale. The flavour gets fiery at around 10, while veterans usually go as high as 25. Toppings like onion and potatoes can be added for extra accent.
Popular with students from nearby Waseda University, Maeyao offers weekly menus that always feature at least one spicy option. Out favourite is the spicy chicken curry, offered on the fourth week of every month. The thick, brownish roux mixes well with the soft chicken wings, potatoes and boiled eggs that make up this dish and prevent the spiciness from going overboard. Those of you who still like their curries numbingly spicy can add some green chilli powder and prepare a boatload of napkins.
You've got three choices at this Akihabara eatery, namely black, Indian, or Japanese curry, but we simply have to tell you to go for the black version. Spiciness levels go from one to 100 on this onion-heavy dish – 10 is perfect for daily consumption, while the maximum cannot be recommended if it's any kind of enjoyment you're looking for.
We estimate at least one onion is used per dish at Curry House Tiri Tiri, best known for its 'Tiri Tiri Masala', which is available for order in 'hot', 'super hot' and 'Habanero' versions. The spiciness kicks in slowly and mixes nicely with the veggies, making for a well-balanced and light option that's manageable even at the Habanero level.
Located just outside Shinjuku Gyoen, this unpretentious curry spot specialises in onion-based, Indian-style offerings that can be spiced up on a scale of one to 10. First-timers will do well to try the tomato chicken curry, an astonishingly fresh creation that's delicious even at the highest levels of heat. Why not try take-out and enjoy a stimulating culinary experience in the park?