"Kyoto cuisine" might bring strong images of traditional dishes like yudofu (boiled tofu) and obanzai (Kyoto-style side dishes). However, it is also well known for its many delicious tsukemen restaurants. Here 5 popular tsukemen restaurants to check out when visiting Kyoto.
1. Kyo-Tsukemen Tsurukame Main Branch
Kyo-Tsukemen Tsurukame Main Branch is a popular restaurant located in Kyoto’s downtown area, Kawaramachi. It's an intimate restaurant that only has counter seats, so it gets full very quickly. There are 3 types of tsukemen on the menu. The most popular is the seafood soy sauce tsukemen (770 JPY (incl. tax)). The combination of the thick homemade noodles and the soy sauce-based soup with bonito and dried sardines is perfect. They also offer the Saikyou miso tantan tsukemen (880 JPY (incl. tax)), made with a delicious sweet chili taste thanks to white miso and a special chili oil, as well as the umakara tsukemen (880 JPY (incl. tax)), which is a perfectly balanced dish that's shrimp-based and uses 10 different types of peppers.
2. Wajoryomen Sugari
Wajoryomen Sugari is located in the downtown high-rise area of Shijo Karasuma. This restaurant is rather homey, and doesn't look like a ramen restaurant at first glance. Although it is almost hidden and can be difficult to locate, this restaurant is acclaimed for its high-quality noodles. The popular motsu tsukemen (900 JPY) comes with a rich soup of chicken and seafood as well as a rare type of grilled small intestine called hoso. You can choose from whole-wheat flour noodles and yuzu citrus noodles, and the meal is topped with seasoned spring onion and garlic shoots.
3. Tsukemen Man Hyakumanben Main Branch
This is a restaurant situated right in front of Kyoto University. It is located 50m north of the Hyakumanben intersection, on the east side of Higashi Oji Street. Their famous noukou tsukemen (780 JPY (incl. tax)) is made of broth boiled at a high-temperature, to which a secret sauce and seafood broth is added. The addictive, thick, rich soup adheres nicely to the noodles, and is the reason they have many repeat customers. Some customers travel from far away just for these noodles, and some people come three times a week!
Menyashakariki, located within ten minutes on foot from JR Nijo Station, is also highly recommended. This restaurant is one of the pioneers of tsukemen in Kyoto. Their famous tsukesoba has five different flavors. For those who enjoy a rich taste, the Noukou Gyokai (830 JPY (incl. tax)) is recommended. This dish comes with a thick pork bone and chicken-based soup, mixed with a dried sardine-based seafood soup. For those who prefer simpler flavors, Wafu Niboshi (830 JPY (incl. tax)), with a chicken and dried-sardine based soup, is recommended.
5. Ichijouji Boogie
Ichijouji Boogie is located in an area where there are many popular ramen restaurants. The most popular dish of this restaurant is the soy sauce based Tsukesoba (700 JPY (incl. tax)). Its flavorful soup uses a mixture of pork bone and seafood, and it is perfected by the sweetness added by the right amount of pork fat. The thick curly noodles catch the soup very well, and the large roast pork is also very satisfying. Ichijouji Boogie also has seasonal flavors like toripaitan (whitish chicken-bone soup), shrimp miso, squid tonkotsu (pork bone broth), and others to look out for.
Traditional Kyoto cuisine is known for its simple flavors. However, when it comes to ramen and tsukemen, rich flavors are more popular. Kyoto has more to offer than just the more traditional Japanese cuisine. Please explore and taste many delicious dishes in Kyoto.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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