Ramen Sen no Kaze | Kyoto

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Ramen Sen no Kaze - entrance
Ramen Sen no Kaze – entrance

I could finish this post right now by simply saying: Ramen Sen no Kaze is THE BEST RAMEN EVER in Kyoto, but I’ll be a nice person and give you some extra information. 🙂

While planning my trip to Japan, I did some research on the food subject. You know, must-go restaurants, dishes to try and sweets. I’ve also added some places to my itinerary, so I wouldn’t miss them. But something that I can’t believe is HOW ON EARTH there was nothing about this place? Seriously Internet, are you kidding me?

Anyways, Hubby found them while we were there and we decided to give it a try, and what a nice surprise! They have a deep in flavour broth, perfect noodles and GOD, those chashu slices, dear lord they were the best ones on our trip. I believe after cooking, then grill it so you get a nicely and very tasty caramelized slice of pork. YUM!

My order

We had been there 3 times (could have gone more :P) and tried the dishes below:

  • Mine: Yamato no Miso with gyoza – miso-based broth, with veggies, minced pork and spices, topped with three chashu pork slices.
  • Hubby: Kyo no Shio Ramen with gyoza – pork-based broth, topped with three chashu pork slices.
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 chashu pork slices.
Kyo no Shio Ramen with gyoza - pork-based broth, topped with three chaser pork slices.
Kyo no Shio Ramen with gyoza – pork-based broth, topped with three chashu pork slices.
Gyozas
Gyoza side

You can have only the ramen bowl (which is cheaper) or with a side of gyoza or rice. We got the gyoza one and it was delicious! Gee, I’m mouthwatering seeing these photos again. Don’t they look perfect?

The verdict

This is a MUST GO place. Do not dare to leave Kyoto without going there, I’ll never forgive you! Ah, a good thing to remember is that this is a very small place so lines can get huge. I would go around 6pm or be prepared to wait. We once arrived there around 7 and waited for at least 40 minutes.

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

Bill: $2160 Yen ($25 AUD) – no drinks.

Exact location: http://goo.gl/maps/ZCT7FRNHtM32
More information: http://ramensennokazekyoto.com

Gogyo | Nakasujicho – Kyoto

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Gogyo Kyoto entrance
Gogyo Kyoto entrance

Have you heard of Burnt Ramen before? Yeah, me neither until I got to Gogyo in Kyoto. They are very famous for this type of ramen, which has the soy or miso base cooked up to 300C degrees! The result, I might say, is amazing. Very different from traditional ramen and totally worth a try.

My order

We decided to try a traditional ramen and one of the burnt versions:

  • Appetisers: veggies and cabbage
  • Mine: Gogyo tonkotsu-men (Pork broth ramen) – very garlicky.
  • Hubby: Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen).
Appetizers: veggies and cabbage
Appetisers: veggies and cabbage
Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)
Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (Burnt soy sauce ramen)
Gogyo tonkotsu-men (Pork broth ramen)
Gogyo tonkotsu-men (Pork broth ramen)

Hubby loved his Kogashi Shoyu-men simple (soy burnt ramen)! I had some and it is a very intricate dish. The flavours were spot on, and different from traditional ramen I’ve tried before. My ramen was delicious, but after I tried his, I was very jealous of his choice. 😛

Turning to my order, my Gogyo tonkotsu-men was one of the best pork broth ramen I had in Japan. I loved that it was very garlicky (much more than other places), and packed with flavour.

The verdict

You MUST go there and have one of the burnt versions. It is very different from anything else and it would be a shame going to Kyoto and not eating it. Seriously, go there.

The only thing I didn’t like was the fee charged for those appetisers that I didn’t order. I noticed other restaurant doing it in Kyoto as well. It seems like to have a seat there you need to pay this fee and then they bring you a simple appetiser. I don’t remember how much it was (for sure wasn’t expensive), I just don’t like to have something pushed on me.

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

Bill: $1780 Yen ($23 AUD) – no drinks.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/maxJRbjLMAU2

Extra information: www.ramendining-gogyo.com/kyoto-location

Ichiran ramen | Kyoto

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Ichiran Kyoto entrance
Ichiran Kyoto entrance

We decided to go to Ichiran Ramen in Kyoto due to the good reviews we found online about their food … but then, what a curious surprise we had after ordering our meal!

As like many restaurants in Japan, you place your order in a vending machine at the entrance and after getting your tickets someone takes you inside to your designed seats. But here we’re surprised by a private little booth, only for you!

Next, you hand over your tickets through a little window to another waiter, that later will use the same window to bring your food, then finally close it to keep your privacy while you fill up your belly with a delicious ramen and make as-awkward-as-you-want noises while drinking your broth. 😛

Is this awesome or what?!

The cozy area where you eat + my selected preferences for the ramen.
The cozy area where you eat + my selected preferences for the ramen.

Another cool thing is that you can customise your ramen according to your taste. Add more or less garlic, red sauce, green onion and even the noodle texture is a choice! This sheet above is available at the entrance (close to the vending machine where you order) or on your small table.

The cozy area where you eat.
The cozy area where you eat.

My order

Both of us picked the same dish as you can see below:

  • Regular ramen with sliced pork, green onion, extra garlic and red sauce.
  • Extra serving of pork.
Ichiran ramen bowl.
Regular ramen with sliced pork, green onion, extra garlic and red sauce.
Extra pork serve.
Extra pork.

In case you run out of noodles, an extra serving is available to be ordered at any time, the same for sliced pork.

The ramen itself is delicious, broth deep in flavour and noodles were yummy. About the pork, it was just OK I’d say (had better ones in Kyoto). However, the portion is more generous than at other places.

The verdict

I totally recommend this place. The food is delicious, ridiculously cheap, and the experience unforgivable!

I’ve been to one in Kyoto and another in Osaka, both good quality food. Be aware this place gets very, very busy at peak hours, so I suggest you getting there earlier for the best experience. 🙂

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

Bill: $970 Yen (A$11.60) – amount for 1 serving of ramen and extra pork, no drinks.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/tgoBechP2Hu

More information: http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/html/kin_kyoto.html

Ippudo | Ginza (and Shinjuku) – Tokyo

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Ippudo Ginza entrance
Ippudo Ginza entrance

Ippudo was a positive surprise for me. I’ll explain to you why: as it is a big restaurant chain, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth trying. I always have this thing in my mind that chains will never deliver the unique flavour and experience as a local restaurant would do. However, Ippudo in Japan is a wonderful place to have extremely yummy noodles at a good price.

Let’s be clear here, I said in Japan, ok? My husband tried both the Shiromaru Classic ramen and the Tori Shoyu at their restaurant in Sydney. The verdict? They brought here the brand but unfortunately left most of the intense flavour of their broth somewhere over the ocean. Bummer. 😐

Back to the positive review, you can find an Ippudo restaurant virtually anywhere in Tokyo. I’ve been to two different locations and good quality food was present in both.

To start, they bring you a glass of a very fresh green tea. Also, there are a few appetisers available, such as bean sprouts, ginger, and extra garlic to add to your ramen.

Ippudo Ginza: green tea
Ippudo Ginza: green tea
Ippudo Ginza: appetizers.
Ippudo Ginza: appetizers.

My order

As I said, we had been there twice. So I’ll list here everything we had:

  • Karaka ramen: tonkotsu broth (pork broth), spicy miso, spring onions, and minced pork. You can choose the spiciness level, mine was standard.
  • Shiromaru Classic ramen (normal): tonkotsu broth, ultra-thin noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions.
  • Akamaru Morden ramen (normal): tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and garlic oil. Served with thin and straight noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions.
  • Mentaiko Gohan: Japanese rice.
  • Hakata Chikara Meshi: Japanese rice with extra slices of pork belly.
Ippudo ramen: Karaka (Standard spice level)
Ippudo ramen: Karaka (Standard spiceness level)
Ippudo ramen: Shiromaru Classic
Ippudo ramen: Shiromaru Classic
Ippudo ramen: Akamaru Morden
Ippudo ramen: Akamaru Morden
Ippudo sides: Mentaiko gohan
Ippudo sides: Mentaiko gohan
Ippudo sides: Hakata Chikara Meshi - Rice with pork slices.
Ippudo sides: Hakata Chikara Meshi – Rice with pork slices.

There was a special option available for the Shiromaru Classic ramen and the Akamaru Morden ramen, which includes a boiled egg and a sheet of nori.

All their ramen is served in a tonkotsu broth. The pork meat and bones are cooked for hours, breaking down the collagen, marrow and fat, creating a creamy and white liquid. Which results in a deep and flavour-packed pork broth.
I could drink litres of it!!! 😀

You can also order extra ramen if you still have some broth left. Honestly, the broth is so good that I never had any left to order the extra ramen. Yummy!

The verdict

Ippudo Japan definitely worth a visit. The portion of ramen is substantial, the broth is amazing, service spot on, and all combined with a reasonable price!

It’s a shame the restaurant in Sydney is not even close to be as good as the ones in Japan. Their menu has more options than the one in Japan, indeed, but the tasteless ramen broth … spoils the broth. 😀

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

Bill: Ramen prices from $790 Yen (A$10). Side dishes start at $300 Yen (A$ 3.80)

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/LNfWCzLkoy22 (There are many stores around Japan. I’ve also visited the Shinjuku one.)

More information: www.ippudo.com

Menya Musashi Ramen | Shinjuku – Tokyo

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Menya Musashi Ramen entrance
Menya Musashi Ramen entrance

This post brings me good feelings. I’m already salivating and asking what I’m doing in Sydney. Please, universe, take me back to Tokyo!!!

At Menya Musashi Ramen, located in Shinjuku, I had the BEST RAMEN EVER – which will be hard to forget or find something slightly close to its taste. Everything was perfect: the deep flavour of their broth, the tender and fatty pork, the perfect boiled egg and that thick and chewy noodle. Ahhh … I do miss it. 🙂

Just to give you a better idea, we had dinner there twice while in Tokyo and I was holding myself to not go there a third time (a lot of willpower was require, but I had to give other places a try).

Before you go ahead reading this post, I might tell you that ramen is not gluten free. However, if you are like me – OK with the idea of making exceptions while travelling – this ramen worths every little piece of gluten in it.

My order

Many restaurants in Japan use a ticket machine for the ordering (see photo below). You add the money, pick your option, get the paper tickets and done.
Next you find a place to seat, give it to the waiter, and wait patiently for your yummy food.

Menya Musashi - ordering machine.
Menya Musashi – ordering machine.

At Menya Musashi you will use this machine. As you can see from the image above, everything was in Japanese and I had no idea what they meant, so my decision was purely made by checking the small pictures. The two dishes marked with an arrow were our choices. Great choices actually!

Our choices were:

  • Hubby: Ramen in a broth with tender pork, menma, nori, spring onions and perfectly boiled egg.
  • Mine: Tsukemen (dipping ramen) with tender pork and boiled egg. The idea here is to get the ramen and dip into a bowl full of a thick and bold broth.
Menya Musashi - Ramen in a broth with tender pork, menma, nori, spring onions and egg.
Menya Musashi – Ramen in a broth with tender pork, menma, nori, spring onions and egg.
Menya Musashi - Tsukemen: dipping ramen with tender pork and egg.
Menya Musashi – Tsukemen: dipping ramen with tender pork and egg.

I’ve tried both and, although they were amazing, the Tsukemen ramen stole my stomach feelings. 🙂

The verdict

Don’t you dare go to Tokyo and not have their ramen. Seriously, the universe will punish you!
This place is absolutely amazing  – not only for their food but the restaurant itself is quite exquisite.

It is a cozy place, very Japanese and the staff is great! They were always shouting in Japanese some sentences according to what they were doing in the kitchen. Of course, I couldn’t understand a word but I liked the restaurant atmosphere. If anyone reading this knows what they are saying, please leave a comment. I’ll appreciate heaps!

About the English: This is not a 5-star English friendly restaurant, I must say. There is no English menu available, but as you can see I managed to order and everything was great! The staff could communicate a little bit in English (very limited), so in case you need some help, raise your hand and give them a try.

Total bill (two people): $2,350 Yen (A$ 30) – no drinks. Very cheap restaurant for the amazing food!

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/9D1sVty5fSy

More information: http://menya634.co.jp