The ancient capital of Japan preserves traditional cuisine from hundreds of years, with unique and delicate cuisine.
And here are some dishes you shouldn’t miss when coming to this ancient capital!
1. Kyoto-style Ramen
Tenkaippin (local people also call it Ten’ichi) is a ramen restaurant chain that is found throughout Japan. Founded in Kyoto in 1981, the brand is famous for its perfect, thick-textured ramen kotteri, which is made from chicken bones in 14 hours. The ramen’s broth is white and sweet, decorated with slices of pork on top, bamboo shoots and green onions. Diners can add sesame, chili sauce or spicy sesame oil when eating to feel the true delicious taste of this dish.
Tofu in Kyoto
Kyoto is famous for its clean water source, which is one of the important elements that make this place famous for its handmade tofu. In addition to the tofu made from the machine, handmade tofu has remained essentially the traditional way in Toyoukeya, a store of the Yamamoto since 1897. At Toyouke restaurant of this family, diners can enjoy dishes from tofu at lunch. If you are not a fan of tofu, try the tofu dish for Westerners and you’ll definitely be addicted this wonderful and extremely healthy dish.
This is a skewered kansai meat and vegetable of the Kansai region. Kushinobo Restaurant in Kyoto Station, on the rooftop of the Isetan shopping complex, offers kushikatsu set at lunch. This skewered dish is called konnyaku. This dish is cooked only when required, including chopped shishito, chopped onions, quail eggs, pumpkin,… This dish is served with rice, miso soup and tea.
4. Chirimen Sansho
At first glance, this spice looks like dry onions or pickles until you see the tiny eyes of it. Kyoto is always famous for dishes from fish. Therefore, these small fishes are an unmissable spice in any meal of Kyoto residents, it’s mixed with sansho pepper and eaten with rice. The sellers in Nishiki market often put these fishes in small bowls for customers to taste.
Like tofu, making nama-fu needs a lot of clean water to make. This dish is usually in the shapes of maple leaf or cherry blossom, often used for decoration in the meal. This dish is made from flour mixed with rice flour, chewy and almost having no taste, but when combined with other vegetables and spices are very good. Vegetarian customers can eat nama-fu black sesame instead of chicken or pork.
6. Kyoto-style sushi
Due to not being a coastal city, Kyoto’s traditional sushi is often made with preserved fish. One of the most popular sushi dishes here is sabazushi, made with mackerel soaked in rice rolls and wrapped in kombu seaweed. Besides sabazushi, hakozushi sushi is also a delicious dish here, made from rice, eel or mackerel in a rectangular wooden box and then cut into small pieces. The Izuju restaurant in Gion opposite Yasaka Shrine serves these 2 dishes for more than a century.
7. Soymilk donut
Tohnyu donut in Nishiki market is famous for soymilk donut. Each set includes 10 hot donuts. Donuts usually have texture and taste quite similar to funnel and are a very light dish. People who love sweet taste can choose brown sugar, chocolate or caramel donuts.
8. Tsukemono Pickles
Made from white radish, bean sprouts, cabbage and fermented rice bran, this dish is very popular in Nishiki market. Customers can smell the fragrance of pickles before seeing it. The pickles here are very delicious even though the form is not very eye-catching. The sellers usually let their customers taste it before buying.
Kyoto stores sell most of Japan’s traditional sweets, but yatsuhashi is still one of the most popular store ever. The cake that is in triangle shape represents the koto, a traditional musical instrument of Japan. This cake is made from thin rice layer wrapping in mashed red beans and then the cake will be roasted. Cakes often have cinnamon flavor, black sesame flavor or green tea flavor. Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honkan in Gion is the most famous store in Japan that sells this cake.