|Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|
On a cold and stormy night, Hirotaka Yamasaki left the office after the usual 12-hour shift. He felt tired, but he knew there was this one ramen restaurant he had to visit in order to feel alive again: Ginjo Ramen Kubota. Here he ate ramen of such deliciousness that he was brought to dears, and on that fateful day, he promised to devote his whole life to ramen. And thus, Hirotaka Yamasaki was no more: he had become the ramen-loving Mr. Yamasaki, and his quest to find the ultimate bowl of ramen in Kyoto had begun.
Back to present day: The weather in Kyoto was nice, and Menya Sanda and Chikyu Kibo de Kangaero Sora had a collaboration event going on. This event would take place at Chikyu Kibo de Kangaero Sora, and their usual Jiro-style* ramen would be served as a special curry version, using the spicy curry sauce of Menya Sanda.
*The ramen here is not really Jiro-style, it's more of an homage to Jiro-style ramen. But you do get a lot of noodles here, just like at Jiro!
As for Mr. Yamasaki, this could mean only one thing: he would definitely have to go there and try this limited edition special. There are not many things in this world as exciting as ramen that you can only have once in your lifetime. (Mr. Yamasaki’s Kyoto Ramen Tours almost always start from this place, in front of Tokiwa Bldg. and The Three Bears.)
So, we took Hankyu to Saiin Station, and from there, walked around 10-minutes to get to Chikyu Kibo. It was still before 12 noon, and we were pretty certain we would be early (the restaurant had started serving hungry people ramen at 11 am).
Mr. Yamasaki’s ramen diet tip: “Drink a bottle of vegetable juice before or after your ramen! This will keep you fit and healthy like me!”
As we got to Chikyu Kibo, we were thinking, this doesn’t look that bad…
… but unfortunately, the line continued on the other side of the road. I guess we were a bit too late, even though we got here before noon. They had a limit of 120 servings they were going to serve this day, which must have been why everyone seemed to have come so early.
Waiting for over an hour was though for Mr. Yamasaki, as he was getting very hungry. But as he always says, if you have to line up for ramen, it will also make the ramen taste better (after all, you’re going to be telling yourself: this has to be worth it! while you eat the ramen).
After waiting in line for over an hour, we could buy our ramen tickets! The ramen we were having today was 1,000 yen, and for 50 yen more, you could have it with cheese. Mr. Yamasaki wanted to have his ramen with cheese; a choice he ended up regretting. You could choose how much noodles you want, either 200, 300, 400, or 500 grams. A normal portion of noodles is 120-160 grams, so even the smallest portion here is what you usually get when you order a “big” portion at most other ramen restaurants.
Finally, we got inside the restaurant! It was really hot, as they were busy making ramen for us, but we were excited as the smell was really promising.
Then it was time: we got to our seats. In ramen restaurants inspired by Jiro, there are some rules you need to follow: you need to put your meal ticket on the counter (the higher one where the staff can see it), and you need to take your own chopsticks, renge-spoon, water, and shibori-towel. After you have finished eating, you need to put your bowl and utensils back on the higher counter, and then put the shibori-towel into the box by the floor (which in this case was blue).
And here is what Mr. Yamasaki had: the curry Menya Sanda-Chikyu Kibo ramen special with cheese.
As you can probably see, the curry sauce was really thick, rich, and full of umami. It was a bowlful of delicious, spicy noodles, and the quail eggs really worked well with the taste of curry.
You even got a bit of rice to finish off the curry sauce! Even Mr. Yamasaki was saying he didn’t feel hungry after finishing his portion. He said of the ramen: “I liked the taste of curry, but I felt like I had taken a bit too much on my plate. I’m not even sure if I can have a big portion of ramen for dinner! Oh, and I thought it would have been better without the cheese, it made the ramen taste a bit like cheese-curry-pizza.”
And here is my portion: the taste of curry was strong, and overall, the spiciness level was just right. You could also order this with more spiciness, or more “numbing” spiciness too, but I and Mr. Yamasaki chose the normal amount, which was already spicy enough for us.
That was over 800 calories in just the noodles, not counting the quail eggs, chashu pork, and the abundant amount of curry sauce. You get quite a lot of value for the 1,000 yen you pay!
This was the first time I got to see Mr. Yamasaki in his element: trying new ramen, thinking of ways to make his ramen tour more exciting, and in general, just being really, really excited about new ramen. The ramen we had today was a limited edition, so you have to hope for another collaboration event if you wish to try it, but as the event seemed to be a success, I hope they will have other collaboration events in the future like the one today.