Creamy and foamy paitan ramen with chicken and seafood base
Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo is a ramen restaurant a three-minute walk from Fujimori Station on Keihan Honsen Line. The head chef of the restaurant, Mr. Sasaki, started working at restaurants at the age of 18, and is a tried and tested Japanese chef. The head chef takes his experience in making Japanese food and turns that experience into a unique bowl of ramen like none other.
Everything at Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo is made from scratch: the soup, the “tare” (also known as ramen spice, usually shoyu, miso, or shio), and the noodles (many other restaurants buy their soup and noodles from a wholesaler). They take special care when making their noodles, they blend only the finest wheat flour and ground flaxseed when making their noodles, and change the blending ratio, thickness, and resting period depending on the type of ramen.
Although this restaurant only opened its doors for business three years ago, it has already grown popular thanks to its unique seafood chicken paitan ramen and special limited-time-only ramen offerings. It’s a top class restaurant even in the highly competitive area of Fushimi Chushojima.
Seafood-chicken paitan ramen
One of the most classic menu items at Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo is their seafood-chicken paitan ramen with its creamy soup with a gentle taste. The slightly yellow, faintly white soup has a silky beauty to it. The soup has a great balance of chicken stock and the seafood stock containing round herring, small dried sardines, mackerel, auxis, among other seafood. Neither chicken nor seafood stock is overpowering; there is a harmony in the taste. When they do their finishing touches to the soup, the soup is also mixed with air, making it have a foamy, creamy texture.
This type of foamy ramen is in Japan called “awa-kei” ramen. But there are not many ramen restaurants that can make proper awa-kei ramen. There is no question about it: Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo is a worthy arrival into the ramen scene of Kyoto with its awa-kei ramen.
The noodles are straight and made with a smaller amount of water than normal. They’re a bit on the al dente side and have a nice bite. If you have the noodles with the provided toppings of fine strips of leek and daikon sprouts, you can enjoy a change in the taste. The rather thick slices of chashu pork are rather rare, juicy-but-soft, and you can feel to the umami of the meat to the last drop.
The other classic at Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo is their mazesoba. Mazosoba means ramen without the soup, and you eat it while excitingly stirring the noodles with the toppings of Chinese chive, leek, ground pork, nori, ground dried sardines, egg yolk, and others. Lastly, when you have finished your noodles, I recommend adding the rice you get with the mazesoba into what’s left of the sauces and enjoying the ramen to the last sauce drop.
Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo’s mazesoba gets its punch from seafood, and it has a rich sweet-but-spicy taste, and by mixing the ingredients you can enjoy a complex, interesting combination of flavors. Unlike other restaurants, the mazesoba here doesn’t contain a lot of garlic, so you won’t have to worry about having bad breath afterward.
Chicken paitan ramen
The chicken paitan ramen at Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo has a very mild and gentle taste. Chicken paitan ramen is usually rich and thick, but here the soup is not that salty, and it has a unique fragrance to it, and brings out the umami of the chicken really well.
The toppings are Japanese bunching onion, menma, chili threads, seasoned boiled egg, and thick, rare chashu pork. Like the abovementioned seafood-chicken paitan ramen, each of the ingredients is made carefully, but even so, they do not interfere with the gentle taste of the soup but help the ramen attain a state of harmony, and all that’s left to say is: wonderful!
Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo’s ramen is served with some coarsely ground black pepper on it already. This taste matches the chicken paitan ramen wonderfully, and works as a nice accent to the taste.
Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo’s chicken shoyu ramen is made from chicken bones and soy sauce, and its specialty is the refreshingly sharp taste. First, you taste the umami in the chicken. After this, you slowly start tasting the umami and sweetness of soy sauce.
The noodles are medium hoso-men, meaning they’re thin at 1.4mm thick. They go perfectly with the soup and this ramen also has black pepper as a nice accent.
The gentle taste of the abovementioned seafood-chicken paitan and chicken paitan ramen is great, but the contrastive, refreshingly sharp taste of shoyu ramen is also great. In fact, the number of restaurants that can make great ramen with both paitan and chintan (clear) types of soups is not big. At Fukakusa Seimen Shokudo, no matter which one you choose, you’re not going to regret your choice. If possible I recommend tasting both.