I am a big fan of ramen - maybe it's due to my 1/4 japanese-ness, or that it warms you up like nothing else on a cold day, or simply because it's just delicious. Whatever the reason, I love ramen and I eat it frequently. Naturally, on a recent trip to Japan I went a little ramen crazy, leading me to my first bowl of burnt miso ramen. My life will never be the same.
I know you're probably wondering how anything burnt can taste delicious, but like anything barbecued, that slight char adds a whole new depth of flavor. While perusing the Nishiko Market in Kyoto one afternoon, I came across a cute, simple restaurant facade with a massive crowd of people. Intrigued, I moved forward through the crowd to investigate the menu. RAMEN. And some other dishes and appetizers of course, but all I really cared about was the ramen. Not the type to wait too long for anything, I decided to avoid the crowds and make it my mission to return for dinner later in the evening.
Flash forward to 9:30 that night. I head back to Ramen Gogyo and am seated within 5 minutes at a simple, but elegant light wood counter at the front of the restaurant. I quickly scan the menu and order a baby beer (so cute) and point to the burnt miso ramen (only 890 Yen or a little over $8).
Ten minutes later, a dark bowl of ramen with charred specs on the surface arrives in front of me with a smokey aroma wafting upwards. I excitedly take my first spoonful of broth - rich and full of flavor, happiness and satisfaction quickly permeate by entire being. The noodles, jidori egg, and chashu are equally delicious, all joining together to create an explosion of flavor in my mouth. I left the restaurant sated, happy, and more in love with ramen than ever before.
Ramen Gogyo has three locations (Kyoto, Tokyo, & Nagoya), be sure to try one if you are ever in the vicinity.