Well, Kyoto has a pug cafe, and yeah — it’s just as amazing as you’d hope. Whoever came up with this is a genius, because being surrounded by about a dozen snorting, wheezing pugs is flat-out delightful.
I finally found a line-up for food that I didn’t have the patience to stand in.
After eating several bowls of ramen in Japan — most of them amazing — I wasn’t sure I could still have my mind blown by the dish.
Well, clearly I couldn’t have been more wrong, because I just went to Gogyo Ramen, and my mind? Blown to smithereens.
I think this is one of those posts where I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking, because Nijo Castle is pretty remarkable.
I was walking down the Sanjo-kai Shotengai Shopping Arcade (which is kind of like a smaller version of the Nishiki Market) when I saw this stand selling creme brulee doughnuts. I literally did a double take. I can’t say no to a creme brulee doughnut. I’m not a monster. So obviously I bought one.
There’s a very distinctive ramen joint in Kyoto called Menbakaichidai that serves what they call “fire ramen.” It’s essentially ramen flambé — they finish your bowl of ramen with a small inferno of burning oil that goes up in a spectacular burst of flames.
There are over 1600 temples and 400 shrines in Kyoto, which is readily apparent when you’re walking around the city. It’s hard to walk more than a few blocks without stumbling onto a temple or a shrine, and when you’re on the outskirts of the city, they’re absolutely everywhere.
If heaven exists, it probably looks something like the Nishiki Market in Kyoto: a seemingly endless street market filled with one vendor after another serving up delicious-looking food.
If it’s food-related, you’ll probably find it here. Aside from all of the enticing prepared food, there’s a smorgasbord of various meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables — it’s a one-stop shop for all things food.
I came here without anything in mind, basically just looking for whatever stall looked the busiest. And there was no contest: this bustling takoyaki stand was clearly where it was at.
For the uninitiated, takoyaki is basically a ball of dough with a piece of octopus in the middle, typically served as street food. They had a few different varieties, including one with cheese, which I had no idea was even a thing. Obviously that’s what I got.
I like takoyaki, though it’s never really been my favourite. Most of the ones I’ve tried have been one-note doughy, with a rubbery piece of octopus inside.
The ones here, on the other hand, were delightfully crispy on the outside, creamy and a little bit gooey on the inside from the cheese, and contained a surprisingly tender piece of octopus. The sweet sauce on top does a great job of balancing out the savouriness of the balls.
Takoyaki is an Osaka specialty, so I’ll obviously be getting them again when I go there, but they’re going to have a very, very hard time living up to this. Takoyaki perfection.
I was wondering if the food in Kyoto could possibly live up to the non-stop greatness of Tokyo; well, my first meal in the city– an insanely delicious bowl of udon noodles — was here to pat me on the head and let me know that everything was going to be okay.