Hakata Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi (博多長浜ラーメン みよし)
Kiyamachi-dori, half a block south of Sanjo-dori
While in Japan, we did what many other food-obsessed people do: try to hunt down the best Ramen in each city. This meant lots of wrong turns, lots of directions asked, lots of phone checking, and thankfully, lots of delicious ramen. Many people not that familiar with Japan or Japanese food think of one thing when they hear ramen: $0.10 packets of dry, salty, bland noodles that got them through college. Having eaten quite a bit of these ramen packets (and their slightly more sophisticated siblings, the cup or bowl of noodles), I can say I have a slight soft spot in my heart for the cheap, horrible, freeze-dried noodles. But let me reassure you, there’s a whole lot more to ramen in Japan.
I haven’t been able to count all of the myriads of types of ramen you can get in japan, from different broths and soup stocks, to different noodles, to different meats and veggies, there’s a range of possibilities that can make basically anyone happy, regardless of food preferences. Some of my favorite types of ramen are the tonkotsu style and the sichuan style ramens, both very different, and both very delicious. Tonkotsu refers to the broth which is made by simmering pork bones for hours (if not days) and the sichuan style is fiery, just like you’d expect from the home of one of the two spiciest Chinese cuisines. While in Kyoto, we found a shop that makes a ramen that’s got both the creamy, silky texture of a tonkotsu broth and a bit of the spice of a sichuan style (although the flavor of a real sichuan-style ramen is quite different). That ramen, the menma ramen found at Hakata Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi, was the best ramen we tried in Kyoto, and probably my second or third favorite ramen in all of Japan.
Ramen Miyoshi offers only a few different options: basic (¥600/$6), menma, preserved spicy bamboo shoots (¥750/$7.50), or spicy kimchi (¥700/$7). Each one is based off of the same pork broth (which you can smell them cooking up the replacement batches, quite an ‘interesting’ aroma, really). For only $6-$7 and for only ¥100/$1 for a refill of noodles (just say kae-dama when you’re out of noodles), this place is both filling and cheap. And with the menma’s super tasty added flavors and their nice variety of condiements, coupled with the shabby interior and no-frills service (quite different from other parts of Kyoto), this was quite a welcome find.