Orochon “Special Number Two” Ramen

Posted on: April 5, 2009
11 comments so far (is that a lot?)

Recently, my friend Danny called me and asked, “Hey do you want to do a Fire Challenge with us?” He instantly had my attention. He proceeded to explain that there was a spot in Little Tokyo called Orochon Ramen that boasts to have the spiciest soup in the country. Their “Special Number 2” had defeated many who tried it. I just felt like I couldn’t pass this up. 

Thinking that I had heard of this challenge before, I checked my Tivo.  As some of you may have already seen, Adam Richmond from the Travel Channel has a show called “Man vs Food” where he travels the country taking food challenges in every city he stops in. A month or so back I had seen the episode where he comes to my home town of Los Angeles. Adam (or his crew) definitely had some knowledge of the city because he had staked out some great places including El Tepeyac home of the Manuel’s Special and Philippe’s coveted for their outstanding French Dip Sandwiches. His final challenge was at (no surprise here) Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo where he was to battle the flamming bowl, known only as “Special #2!” 

With a slight knowledge of what I would be up against and the thought of a serious challenge, I told Danny I was all in! So when we arrived at Little Tokyo the parking was a mess. If you go, be careful because these parking structures are built for smart cars and anyone with an SUV is SOL. At the restaurant we were joined by my girl friend, Danny’s brother Drew and a handful of others. The restaurant was small and had a nice outside patio section. The lines were out the door and people were waiting around everywhere. We waited outside patiently as we were watching others take the challenge. Some were getting up from the table running full speed towards the bathroom. I could only imagine why they were running so fast. I watched some of my associates laugh nervously as it was almost our turn.

At the table 13 of us sat down and only three of us were willing to attempt the challenge. Danny, Ali, and myself were the only three that uttered those three life changing words “Special Number Two.” Truthfully you know your in for a treat when the waiters laugh at you after they hear your selection. Danny and Ali both pulled out large bottles of milk in hopes that if it’s too spicy they could cool their mouths with a little dairy, which was quite humurous considering they are both lactose intolerant.

Just as we wondered what we had really gotten ourselves into the food arrived. suc51397                      suc51398

It looked absolutely amazing. You could smell the spices from the Miso broth. The chilies floated in the soup like little green bombs waiting to go off.  We had 30 minutes to complete these Firey Bowls to win the challenge, so we went at it. 


The soup was full of flavor. The noodles were perfectly firm and the tastes just blew your mind. Two minutes into the challenge it was a totally diferent story. This stuff was HOT! We were all sweating and feeling our legs go numb. The spice was intense but doubled with the temperature and its size, it was definitely challenging. The three of us finished the noodles and sprouts off first combining the chunks of green Jalapeno with each bite. After most of the filler was gone there was nothing left to do but suck back that inferno of a broth with hot peppers floating around. 

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When the broth was done all we had left was a small pile of spicy fresh Jalapeno peppers to contend with. Shoveling them in as fast as possible I was able to barely finish with 6 minutes to spare. Ali came in close behind and Danny was able to pull it together and finish with 35 seconds on the clock. We all looked like Death had just smacked us in the face. That was definitely an experience I won’t soon forget.

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We definitely had a blast at Orochon Ramen and if your near downtown and want to add some spice to your day, stop by and ask for the “Special Number 2”