What is Mapo Tofu?
The creation of mapo tofu is credited to a single woman living in China’s city of Chengdu during the Qing Dynasty. The dish was designed so that it can be made for guests, using whatever ingredients are on hand. Ever since then, it has become an extremely popular home food in China. In 1952 the Chinese chef Chen Kenmin brought the dish with him to Japan, and in modern times mapo tofu is such an extremely popular Chinese dish in Japan that everyone knows it. The flavor of mapo tofu is based on the flavors of cayenne and szechuan peppers, which creates an enticingly spicy and powerful dish. Mapo tofu is very popular because it has a certain type of numbing spiciness that most modern dishes do not have. This concept of ‘numbing spiciness’ has been reconsidered recently, and there are now a number of places in Japan who are utilizing classic mapo tofu ingredients while creating new twists on the time-tested dish.
Here are the recommended mapo tofu places in Tokyo!
Mapo tofu made using a 400-year-old recipe
This store uses a time-honored mapo tofu recipe. The numbing sensation of the Szechuan peppers and the high-quality tofu is very appealing. It has an aggressive flavor but the flavor of the soybeans in the tofu is very mild. The mapo tofu served by Mr. Choyo varies depending on lunch, so please be careful.
Address: Granbell, Granbell Ginza 27F, 1-5-5 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo (東京都 港区 新橋1-5-5 グランベル グランベル銀座ビル27F)
Open hours:17:30 ~ 21:30
Closed days: Sunday
Nearest train station: Shinbashi Station (新橋)
High quality mapo tofu with a skillful balance of numbness and spiciness
Using plenty of chili paste, this mapo tofu has an excellent flavor balance. With a pleasantly mellow scent, the firm tofu is packed full of flavor and a sense of unity. The owner uses 4 kinds of red chile oil to create a unique homemade mapo tofu unlike any other.
Address: 1-33-1 Itabashi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo (東京都板橋区板橋1-33-1)
Open hours: 19:15 ~ 22:00
Closed days: Sunday, Holidays
Nearest train station: Itabashi Station (板橋)
■神田 雲林 （Yunrin）
A noble mapo tofu with a powerful aroma
The owner of this store developed his recipe for mapo tofu while traveling Sichuan Province in China. It has a more direct spiciness and a stimulating numbing sensation. The large pieces of tofu and pork have an excellent balance of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors, which blend together to make a superb mapo tofu dish.
Address: No. 2 2F&F Royal Building 2F, 1-17 Kanda Sudachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都千代田区神田須田町1-17 第２Ｆ＆Ｆロイヤルビル２Ｆ)
Open hours: 11:30 ~ 22:30
Closed days: Sunday
Nearest train station: Ogawamachi Station (小川町)
Mapo tofu boiled in earthenware pots
Delicious mapo tofu made with mild soft tofu. The spicy Szechuan peppers are stimulating, an excellent blend of chili paste from Sichuan Province and Pi County. The tofu is finely minced, with a delicate flavor balance that permeates the whole dish.
Address: 3-18-9 Wada, Suginami-ku, Tokyo (東京都杉並区和田3-18-9)
Open hours: 11:30 ~ 21:30
Closed days: Tuesday
Nearest train station: Higashi-Kōenji Station (東高円寺)
■赤坂 四川飯店 （Akasaka Szenchwan Restaurant）
A secret mapo tofu that wastes absolutely nothing
Mapo tofu that is not ashamed of tradition. The balance of numbness and spiciness is superb, and the dashi's flavor is excellent. They only use chili paste from Pi County in China. It is arranged for Japanese people, but at the same time it is a high level mapo tofu that makes you truly appreciate the traditions of Sichuan Province.
Address: 5F/6F, 2-5-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都千代田区平河町2-5-5全国旅館会館ビル５Ｆ・６Ｆ)
Open hours: 11:30 ～ 22:00
Closed days: None
Nearest station: Nagatacho Station (永田町)
■四川家庭料理 珍々 （Zen Zen）
A highly original mapo tofu that uses neither broad bean chili paste nor sweet flour paste.
This enjoyable mapo tofu is completely different in both spiciness and flavor compared to most other Japanese mapo tofu. It notably does not use broad bean chili paste or sweet flower paste. The key to the spicy flavor is a fermented homemade paste using two types of pepper, along with a Chinese red chile oil made using Szechuan peppers, beans, walnuts, and sesame seeds.
Address: Shimamura Building 1F, 2-5-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都江戸川区西小岩4-9-20 島村ビル1F)
Open hours: 18:00 ～ 23:00
Closed days: Mondays
Nearest station: Koiwa Station (小岩)
A wholesome and very personal mapo tofu
This Sichuan mapo tofu looks mouthwateringly delicious. The tofu is hardened by having the water removed from it, and the lightly-cooked Szechuan peppers are mixed together with tart sprouts and chicken to create a deep flavor. The spiciness is rich with flavor, leaving you with a refreshing and comfortable feeling after eating.
Address: Seiwa Building 1F, 4-16-10 Kamisaginomiya, Nakano-ku, Tokyo (東京都中野区上鷺宮4-16-10 青和ビル１Ｆ)
Open hours: 12:00 ～ 22:00
Closed days: No closings
Nearest station: Fujimidai Station (富士見台)
■麻辣王豆腐 （Maraou Dofu）
A local variety of mapo tofu with a clear personality
Authentic mapo tofu that is comparable to "Chin Mapo Tofu." The moment your food is delivered you can savor the sweet smell of the peppers. If you're hungry for a uniquely local flavor, we urge you to try the 'ogara' (very spicy) mapo tofu. It has an aggressive numbing spiciness mixed with delicious flavor that has been imbued into the tofu.
Address: Nanae Building 3F, 3-21-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (東京都新宿区新宿3-21-2 ナナエビル３F)
Open hours: 11:30 ～ 23:00
Closed days: Irregular closings
Nearest station: Shinjuku Station (新宿)
Mapo tofu with a 'golden ratio' of spiciness, numbing, and flavor.
In the midst of a sea of thin chile oil the minced tofu's flavor gradually spreads. Subdued fermented black soybeans, the numbing sensation of mountain peppers, and the spicy flavor of chili peppers. The pleasant spiciness of this mapo tofu will really make you sweat.
Address: 2-22-10 Wakabachō, Chōfu-shi, Tokyo (東京都調布市若葉町2-22-10)
Open hours: 11:30 ～ 22:00
Closed days: Monday
Nearest station: Sengawa Station (仙川)
■陳麻婆豆腐 （Chin Mapo Dofu）
A "hard-style" mapo tofu with a perfectly effective broad bean chili paste
With both numbing (Szechuan peppers) and heat (chile peppers), this mapo tofu has a remarkable blend of spiciness that really packs a punch. If you like Szechuan peppers you can add more. Perfect for lunch. Created especially to rouse your appetite, you can really taste the local flavors in this mapo tofu.
Address: Tokyu Plaza Akasaka 2F, 2-14-3 Nagatachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都千代田区永田町2-14-3 東急プラザ赤坂 2F)
Open hours: 11:00 ～ 23:00
Closed days: Year end period
Nearest station: Akasaka-mitsuke Station (赤坂見附)
What do you think? We encourage you to find your own personal favorite mapo tofu!
Please note that the information on our site is subjective information that was collected independently by the Tabearukists; no information was provided by the individual stores, so please note that some information may be subject to change without advance notice.