The best ramen in Japan! (Tokyo and Kyoto)

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While in Japan¬†ūüáĮūüáĶ I had the opportunity to try so many yummy places! Which now makes very hard for me to pick just one, so in this case … I’ll pick TWO Ramen restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto (each) that you must not miss. You can also find more details about them by clicking their titles. Shall we start?

Tokyo

Menya Musashi Ramen | Shinjuku
Menya Musashi - Ramen in a broth with tender pork and egg.
Menya Musashi – Ramen in a broth with tender pork and egg.
Ippudo | Ginza (and Shinjuku)
Ippudo ramen: Shiromaru Classic
Ippudo ramen: Shiromaru Classic

Kyoto

Ramen Sen no Kaze
Yamato no Miso with gyoza - miso-based broth, with veggies, minced pork and spices, topped with three chased pork slices.
Yamato no Miso with gyoza – miso-based broth, with veggies, minced pork and spices, topped with three chased pork slices.
Gogyo | Nakasujicho
Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)
Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)

My favourite restaurants in Kyoto

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You’ve probably seen my favourite restaurants in Tokyo¬†(if you haven’t, please do it before you go to that amazing city). Now it’s time to tell you which ones I’m still dreaming about in Kyoto! You can ready my extended review for each one of them just by clicking their titles.¬†Let’s start?

Ramen Sen no Kaze

Yamato no Miso with gyoza - miso-based broth, with veggies, minced pork and spices, topped with three chased pork slices.
Yamato no Miso with gyoza – miso-based broth, with veggies, minced pork and spices, topped with three chased pork slices.

Best Ramen EVER in Kyoto. I don’t need to say anything else here … just GO there. ūüėĚ

Gogyo

Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)
Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)

This place makes Burnt Soy Sauce Ramen and other different flavours that are not usually found in the super traditional city of Kyoto. Delicious and a must try.

Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran ramen bowl.
Ichiran ramen bowl.

Super cool ramen experience where you are served in an individual booth. But I’m not saying it is worth a visit only because of the experience though, their ramen is indeed yum and totally worth a try.

Kendonya

Chicken and egg rice bowl
Chicken and egg rice bowl

This family-owned restaurant makes perfect homemade udon noodles and also offers many delicious rice bowl options.

KyoTofu Fujino Cafe

Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.

This is not truly a restaurant, but I strongly recommend you to visit this little cafe. They serve many dairy free desserts made of soy milk. Please, try their cheesecake for me (bonus points if you try it multiple times).

Bento box – Shinkansen (Tokyo and Kyoto stations)

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In case you are planning to travel around Japan using the Shinkansen (the awesome bullet trains) you can bring your meal to have on the train while enjoying the view, especially if the trip is going to take a few hours. And an excellent option for such purpose will be the traditional bento boxes!

We took the Shinkansen twice, first time going from Tokyo to Kyoto and then from Kyoto to Tokyo. This trip takes around 3 hours each way and the trains are well equipped with tables (aeroplane style) so you can have your meal there.

Both Tokyo and Kyoto stations had a great number of stores selling bento boxes, all varying¬†between A$8 and A$18 (U$ 7 to 15). There are plenty of options (including vegetarian and kids-friendly meals), and they are served¬†at room temperature, very convenient as you don’t need to worry about storing them in any special way until it’s time to eat. As our trips were both at lunchtime, we didn’t think twice and grabbed¬†them to have¬†on the train! ūüöÖ

Tokyo station – Tokyo Bento

At Tokyo station, we bought our lunch at Tokyo Bento. The food was very good, tasty, well-sized portions, and lukewarm.

Tokyo Bento store
Tokyo Bento store

Our choices there were:

  • Hubby:¬†On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
  • Mine:¬†Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.
On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.
Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.

Kyoto Station

Unfortunately,¬†I’ve forgotten to take a photo from the store we bought our lunches, and I don’t even remember its name. :/
Sorry, my fault! Anyways, it a very big one selling souvenirs too (in case it helps). There we got:

  • Hubby:¬†Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
  • Mine:¬†Rice with veggies and beef¬†stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.
Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
Rice with veggies and beed stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.
Rice with veggies and beef stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.

So, in summary, if you’re going to use the Shinkansen to travel between cities while visiting Japan, don’t think twice, grab a few bento boxes to have on the go and enjoy the local food like a boss. ūüĎĎ

Chibo Okonomiyaki | Osaka

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Chibo entrance
Chibo entrance

Okonomiyaki is a must try while in Japan; for the uninitiated: the dish consists of a savoury pancake mixed with cabbage, topped with a large variety of ingredients, and finally cooked on a hot grill. You can find places that allow you to cook it by yourself (like on my visit to Tsurujiro Okonomiyaki) or, you can also find places like Chibo where the food is served already cooked and you just keep it warm using the grill on your table.

Either experience is fine, in my opinion, what really matters is to take into consideration the flavour, and regarding this one, Chibo got the crown!

My order

There are plenty of options in their menu, with a huge variety of okonomiyaki flavours. We decided to go with Dotonbori yaki and Hiroshima yaki meal for two, which consists of:

  • Hiroshima yaki: Pork, cuttlefish, prawn, scallops, and noodles.
  • Dotonbori yaki: Pork, beef tendon stew, cuttlefish, prawn, and cheese.
  • Chibo’s salad.
  • Omelet wrapped pork.
Dotonbori yaki and Hiroshima yaki meal for two.
Dotonbori yaki and Hiroshima yaki meal for two.
Hiroshima yaki - Pork, cuttlefish, prawn, scallops, and noodles.
Hiroshima yaki – Pork, cuttlefish, prawn, scallops, and noodles.
Dotonbori yaki - Pork, beef tendon stew, cuttlefish, prawn, and cheese.
Dotonbori yaki – Pork, beef tendon stew, cuttlefish, prawn, and cheese.
Chibo's salad.
Chibo’s salad.
Omelet wrapped around pork.
Omelet wrapped pork.

As I said before, they bring the okonomiyaki already¬†cooked and you use the grill on your table only to keep it warm, different from other places that allow you to cook by your own, which is very fun actually. Anyways, in case you¬†seat at the counter, it’s possible to see the chefs preparing it in front of you.

In addition, it is a very good sized serving, both of us (hubby and I) ate everything until full, and of course, it was delicious! we liked everything, especially that pork omelette.

The verdict

In case you are an okonomiyaki fan spending some time in Osaka, I would highly recommend you to visit Chibo. The service is good, staff are friendly and food delicious! Also, the combo for two meal is very cost effective comparing to one single serve.

About the English: English menu available and staff can communicate in English.

Bill: 3840 Yen (A$45.00)

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/LaLeWT6kmFz

More information: www.chibo.com/en

KyoTofu Fujino Cafe | Nishijin District – Kyoto

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KyotoTofu Fujino Cafe entrance.
KyoTofu Fujino Cafe entrance.

Within walking distance from the Kinkaku-ji temple you can treat yourself with delicious soy-based desserts at KyoTofu Fujino Cafe. There is also a restaurant serving traditional tofu meals and soy milk treats, but I only had time to visit the cafe during this occasion.

The place serves different types of desserts, all soy milk based and a yummy and creamy ice cream.¬†Which sounded like heaven after walking the whole morning in a heat of¬†38C degrees. Geez, it was scorching¬†‚ėÄÔłŹ in Kyoto that day.

My order

For a quick stop and to refresh ourselves before the next attraction, we decided to have:

  • Hubby:¬†Soy milk ice cream, with mochi, azuki beans paste, fried gluten, and soy milk cinnamon stick.
  • Mine:¬†Soy milk cheesecake with black sesame seed crust.
Soy milk ice cream.
Soy milk ice cream.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.

As every Japanese dessert, they were just sweet enough. In case you have a strong sweet tooth, you may find it needed more sugar, but for my taste it was amazing! I got a little bit of the ice cream, it was very creamy and you could definitely taste the soy milk.

About my choice,¬†the cheesecake, it was extremely delicate¬†and light. I could feel some lemon or citrus flavour, what gave a special kick to it. Although the ice cream had a clear soy milk taste, the cheesecake had nothing like that. Definitely, a must go if you are around the area. ūüôā

The verdict

They say their soy milk and all soy based products sold in the¬†store are homemade.¬†I really liked the desserts and would go back¬†in case I return to Kyoto one day. Ah! For all vegans out there, I don’t know about the desserts (they are vegetarian for sure), but for the traditional tofu meals, they can adapt everything to be vegan, you just need to book in advance.

About the English: English menu available and staff can communicate just enough in English.

Bill: 824 yens (A$10) Рno drinks.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/EDcM2PjCUaU2

More information: www.kyotofu.co.jp/en/