My final stop before heading back to China via Tokyo after a week in Kansai was originally to be a return visit to Miyoshi in Kyoto’s Kiyamachi nightlife district. Miyoshi is a simple, no fuss bowl of tonkotsu ramen (creamy, pork bone soup) that doesn’t score highly in the creativity department, but goes down easy and warms you up. After a day full of adventures, I was content to go with something I knew. At the end of a long and engrossing discussion with Moriwaki Kiyotaka at The Museum of Kyoto, in which we managed to go from history to film, animation, city planning to ramen (it turned out we are both ramen nuts), I mention my dinner plan as we begin to pack our belongings. Moriwaki ponders for a moment before giving a, “Miyoshi wa chotto…” trailing off into body language that tells me, “sure, it’s OK, but wouldn’t you be interested in something better?” I get the hint and follow his recommendation.
Menya Takakura Nijō (麺や高倉二条) is a short walk from Moriwaki’s office at the museum. Being so close, I assumed this might just be his favorite lunch spot. I didn’t learn until later that it has the third highest rating on RamenDB for all of Kyoto Prefecture.
The elegant, subdued facade with bicycles parked out front gives way to a clean and modern but warmly lit interior of stainless steel and blonde wood counters.
The soup is a creamy but not overly heavy tonkotsu, with a great finish of smoky and slightly bitter flavors. My hunch is that it’s a double soup, a mix of tonkotsu with a niboshi (dried sardines) or katsuobushi (dried, fermented, smoked skipjack tuna) fish stock. It’s paired with your choice of thin, whole grain flecked noodles, or slightly thicker standard ones. The flavored hanjuku egg and flame seared chashu are well made and a great match for the bowl.
With the limited opporunities I have to travel to Japan, I tend to make advance detailed plans to maximize the time. But it’s good to know when there are people, places and noodles worth changing them for. That’s what a real adventure is all about.