One of the spiciest new ramen shops in town offers a bowl of heat meant to challenge diners. Chinatown’s new Ramen Shibire features the Black Hole Challenge with a 24-ounce bowl of koku-dama ramen filled with a quarter pound of pork chashu, two soy-cured eggs, and toppings. Challengers have eight minutes to finish it. The heat comes from a combination of ghost peppers and Carolina reapers. Those who finish in eight minutes get the $35 bowl of ramen for free and their name and photo featured on the anime wall.
For the average diner who doesn’t want to take the challenge, heat is optional ranging from one to five. The tame Green Flash gyoku-dama ramen comes with chicken broth and karaage, while a Sunshine version with a bit more heat comes with chicken with chashu and karaage. Two more prepared options build on the heat from there.
Diners can also build their own ramen bowls, choosing one of four bases including tonkotsu, chicken, the vegan garden miso, or the carnivore with pork broth. Then comes the heat, ranging for gyoku with a citrus kick, dai-dai with habanero, haku with white pepper and onion, shinku with arbor chili and Sriracha, or koko with Thai chili. The hot sauces come on the side so diners can stir them in for their own concoction. From there, add everything from soy-cured egg and kimchi to chashu or shrimp tempura.
Starters include edamame and shrimp pops, garlic butter mushrooms, chashu buns, takoyaki, and gyoza. For lunch from noon to 3 p.m., the restaurant offers an $8.95 special with an entree and a side.
Ramen Shibire, 3889 Spring Mountain Road, 725-204-1252. Open daily from noon to 4 a.m.