In this case – soy milk ramen. And this ain’t your average soy milk – this is freshly ‘squeezed’ soy milk made by grinding pre-soaked (in pristine Kyoto mountain water) dried local (high quality and full flavoured) soy beans and filtering the creamy liquid off to form the ‘milk’ – or tonyu. Nutty, earthy, creamy with a very subtle hint of sweetness.
Below the tonyu ramen is served with a small side of rice topped with freshly made yuba (soy milk skin made by heating soy milk and scooping off the resulting ‘skin’ from the top – like you would if you had over heated your milk at home and a skin formed – only this tastes much better! ) and ginger ankake (slightly thickened dashi with soy/mirin and freshly grated ginger). Soy Good.
A rarely seen ramen variety – the creamy soy milk and dashi combination is so very comforting. So very Kyoto. The salty shiitake tsukudani (soy preserves), umeboshi (pickled plum), nanohana (canola greens), yuzu zest and spring onions adding little hits of sourness, plenty of umami, sharpness and citrus aromats in order to compliment the creamy soup base.
This particular tonyu ramen originated at Mamezen in Kyoto (and was first mentioned to me by Kyoto Foodie who had been singing its praises for some years ) but they are now serving this deliciously warming, easy on the tummy meal-in-a-bowl at another family restaurant – Yudofu Touka in northern Kyoto (right off Shirakawa dori at Manshuin michi) which also specialises in Yudofu – bathed/simmered tofu in a hotpot – with condiments. Another winter favourite.
Do make sure you try this very special, local ramen if you have the opportunity. I’ll let you know if I spot it elsewhere and I’d love to hear from you too if you enjoy soy milk ramen in another restaurant.