I’m definitely not a Ramen snob.
I’ll gladly slurp away at a bowl of $1.00 instant Ramen with as much enthusiasm as I would a $ 9 bowl one. Ramen is the ultimate comfort food and last meal kinda thing for me. That’s how much I love it. Me and my wife once waited in line for almost a couple of hours for Daikokuya Ramen in Little Tokyo , Los Angeles.
I like it in any way I can get it and while I was in Japan I was determined to try as much Ramen as I could. Not just because it’s easy on the travel budget but it’s just so damn good. The rainy days while we were in Kyoto also made it easier to pick a warm bowl of Ramen over anything else when we got hungry.
Then I tasted Tenkaippin Ramen.
My brother-in-law went to college in Kyoto so I was confident he knew all the good spots to eat and he definitely didn’t dissapoint. He drove us to this very tiny Ramen shop called Tenkaippin. Most of the patrons jammed into this shop looked like hard working locals which is always a good sign.
I later learned that this humble little shop is what is the ‘Honten’ as in head office and the very first shop of the Tenkaippin brand. People say it still makes better ramen compared to it’s other locations.
|Tenkaippin Kotteri Ramen ,Gyoza and Karaage
I ordered the signature dish Kotteri-style ramen with beef and the moment I took a sip of that very thick broth I was instantly hooked and became a believer. This ramen broth is very thick, almost gravy-like. I’ve read that they make it thick by using a bunch of chicken collagen. It was packed with flavor and because the soup is so thick it clung to every noodle making every slurp a lot more intense than your normal ramen experience. Add to that the tasty and very tender pieces of beef and you got what I would consider one of the best bowls of ramen I’ve had in Japan or Los Angeles. If I wasn’t there with my in-laws I would’ve probably done what my wife told me the locals do. They order a side of white rice and dump it into the leftover broth after finishing all the noodles. This way they can sop up all that creamy goodness and flavor.
A few days later while walking around in Gion, Kyoto on a rainy afternoon we happened upon another Tenkaippin Ramen and I couldn’t resist going for another bowl. This was an even smaller shop with a vending machine style ordering system outside but sadly this shop does not offer the beef topping option .
There’s enough reasons to come to Kyoto for me obviously, but the discovery of Tenkaippin Ramen just added to my list , almost close to the top to be honest .
|Close up of the thick broth with tender chunks of beef and chashu, amazing!