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Spiciest Dish in Columbus – Fukuryu Ramen

Relentless fiery noodles and levels we didn’t know existed…

For the longest time I was unaware of how good ramen could be. When I met the lady of the farm, she introduced me to the dish and it has become my favorite rainy day food of all time. On a rainy day in Columbus, we headed to Fukuryu Ramen in Dublin, Ohio to take down the next contender in our spiciest dish list.

Fukuryu is a ramen shop with three locations: Dublin, OH, Upper Arlington, OH and Melbourne, Australia. Yep, two Columbus locations and one on a totally different continent. Fukuryu has quickly become one of the best spots for ramen in Columbus (Meshikou is right there with it). One thing unique to Fukuryu is that “in addition to our classic ramen menu, Fukuryu Ramen offers a modern ramen menu with Signature items such as Red Dragon Ramen and Black Dragon Ramen that are not available anywhere else!” The Red Dragon Ramen shows up on many lists as the spiciest dish in Columbus so it was time to test that claim.

We approached the cashier and ordered the Red Dragon Ramen (the lady of the farm got curry). They advertise 3 levels of spiciness, with Level 3 being the spiciest, so I confirmed with the cashier.

Ron: “Level 3 is the spiciest, correct?”
Cashier: “Wellll, we advertise up to 3, but Level 7 is the spiciest.”
Ron: “…”
Cashier: “Really at some point the ratio of broth to chili paste is no longer enjoyable.”
Ron: “…” (mulling over how stupid I wanted to be)
Cashier: “I’ve only ever seen someone get a 6, and the flavor is less than the heat at that point.”
Ron: “Well, since 3 is the hottest advertised, let’s do Level 4.”

He agreed that Level 4 was a fine choice and put in the order along with the curry and two pork belly steamed buns. We wandered off to a table and sat down, preparing for the bowl of chili paste we’d just ordered.

Out came a bright red bowl of Red Dragon Ramen, Level 4. Our server looked at me, with a look of “why are you doing this to yourself,” and wandered away. Staring into the redness, I started to re-consider everything.

First, the egg. Soft-boiled eggs are one of my favorite things when it comes to ramen and I immediately got a small hint of the spiciness that lurked below. After mixing up the ingredients a bit, I dug in. The first thing you notice is the balanced flavor of the chicken bone broth. Salty and savory, it took several bites into the noodles before the heat hit me. It was minor at first, but I could feel it growing. My nose started to run and in order not to attract attention to myself I wiped the snot away instead of giving it a hard honk.

Things were going pretty well until a sesame seed got me in the back of the throat. I let out a cough and all the heat that had been growing coated my insides and wouldn’t leave. With the noodles almost gone I had a decision to make. Would the Red Dragon stop me at just the noodles or was it time to man up and drink the broth (the best part most of the time).

Of course I went for the full broth. A good ramen broth is a beautiful thing and I was not going to waste it. To me, not drinking ramen broth is like throwing a handcrafted piece of art (by an actual artist) directly in the trash, right in front of the artist. Through slow sips and a lot of nose wipes, I made it to the bottom of the bowl. You’ll notice there are still a lot of seeds remaining with a tiny bit of broth, mainly because I got tired of chewing through all of the seeds at the end.

Evidence that Ron finished the bowl.

The deed was done, the bowl was empty (mostly). I had survived Level 4. I rode the spicy high for a good fifteen minutes after finishing and my insides stayed warm for longer than that. No sweat, but nose wet, I thought of where this dish ranks in spiciest in Columbus. It was a good heat all the way through, but not spicy enough to question my reality at any point.

Having eaten at 3 of the spots on our list, it was definitely hotter than Tweeter’s Devil’s Breath, but not spicier than Atlas Tavern and their Reaper wings. The Red Dragon Ramen Level 4 is a different spiciness than the Reaper wings though. It is a consistent, nagging heat that continues to hit you in the mouth with every bite and every slurp. There’s no backing down, and that deserves at least the number two spot. For spicy dishes that are not wings it’s definitely number one at the time of this writing.

Side note: the pork belly steamed buns were a great distraction from the heat and have a tremendous amount of flavor including the sweet Japanese-style pickles. The non-ramen dishes at Fukuryu are great, so even if you don’t like spicy, there’s something for everyone. We love having Fukuryu in Columbus and will definitely be headed back, but this next time will probably focus on one of their other delicious broths. If you don’t care about flavor, try the Level 7, otherwise Level 4 is going to be hot enough for most.

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