ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR RAMEN
Did you know ramen is a Japanese phenomenon? Sure, it shares roots with Chinese noodle soup, but the ramen you get here has transformed into a soul food classic. So each area in Japan has its own signature take, with variations on the soup base, noodle type, and toppings galore… So, you may ask, how does Kyoto do it?
Well, your soup can be light or rich. The rich variety can either be white in color and made from chicken or pork bone, or you can opt for a bowl of full-on pork back-fat with Chinese noodles. So these are your 3 primary options.
Each broth has its characteristics depending on how it’s made, and with what. Expect to pay a little more for tonkotsu or pork bone ramen because it tends to be a specialty. You can also get stock flavored with chicken, or just make it a stewed chicken carcass soup. But you don’t have to lose sleep over your decision, just pick the one that appeals to you now.
There’s a neighborhood in Kyoto that’s known as a spiritual home for the nation’s ramen. Ichijoji hosts a sort of ramen congress where restaurants from across the country pit their signature soups against each other, and work to improve their game. If you’re at all serious about ramen, this is the place to be. There’s a department store called Isetan at Kyoto Station. Inside, you’ll find “ramen alley,” better known as Kyoto Ramen Komichi. Here, you can get a taste of flourishes from all across Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south.
Another great thing about Japanese ramen is that you can get as sophisticated (think Michelin-starred Tokyo establishment) or as basic (think standing-only shop under the train tracks) as you want. And in general, it’s cheap, fast, and delicious. These bowls are packed with the passion of the people who fill them for you. So if there’s a rumble in your belly for some tasty comfort food, consider reaching out for a bowl of your newest favorite.
May 03, 2016