I was updating my guide to ramen and, when I got to the part about tonkotsu broth, I had the urge in include the best tonkotsu ramen we had in Japan on our 2019 trip. But the guide to ramen was over 1,500 words long already and inserting an anecdote would have made it too much of a long read. So, what was meant to be a few paragraphs of anecdote became this post.
In Kyoto, just a few steps from the ryokan (inn) where we stayed, was a ramen shop called Aitsu no Ramen Kataguruma that was often teeming with locals. We went there one night, minus Sam who opted to stay at the ryokan with a tray of sushi from Family Mart (convenience food store in Japan is terrifically good!).
It was around 9.00 p.m. when we entered Aitsu no Ramen Kataguruma and they had run out of the ramen that we originally wanted to order. We had to choose other items on the menu.
That, above, was what Speedy ordered.
Alex and I each had the same ramen but with only half as much pork slices.
I have to mention that the pork is crusted with crushed pepper which set it apart from other chashu pork we have had in the past. Reminded us of pastrami.
And the broth… Oh, the broth!
The thickest and tastiest tonkotsu broth we’ve ever had! There is one claim that cheese is added to the broth to give it a unique flavor and texture that makes it reminiscent of carbonara. I can almost believe that considering how the pork slices reminded us of pastrami.
Aitsu no Ramen Kataguruma is at 77 Nishishichijo Nishihattandacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto and it is not centrally located. It’s about three kilometers from Kyoto Central Station and, to get there, you have to take a bus or a taxi.
We were just lucky to be staying at an accommodation so near it. Otherwise, we probably would have never discovered Aitsu no Ramen Kataguruma. Although there have been write-ups about it, you will rarely find Aitsu no Ramen Kataguruma in the list of “must eat” places in travel blogs. Mostly, it’s the locals that go there.
Want to know more about ramen? Read A Guide To Ramen Broth: Shio, Shoyu, Miso and Tonkotsu.