Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wantsuchi Ramen - Kyoto

Kyoto's Wantsuchi (10,000 pigs) restaurant,  situated just outside the western exit of Nishiki Market (just a couple of shops in from the corner where Nishiki and Takakura streets intersect) is famous for their black sesame tantanmen (a spicy noodle soup related to the Chinese/Sechuan Dan Dan noodles with pork mince and loads of roasted black sesame seeds) among other Chinese influenced porky delights. Aren't all porky things delightful....??

To be perfectly honest the Tantanmen was not completely to my taste - pleasant enough to begin with but I found the flavour just a little overwhelming by the time I reached the bottom of the bowl. (no of course I didn't think to stop when I'd had enough...)  This particular dish was rather spicy too which is always a little lost on me but I know many ramen afficianados who would be very happy to dive into the molten mass. 
It's a jumping joint, like most ramen eateries - people are generally in and out, slurping and sliding. 
We were a group of about 8 in for some starch to soak up our farewell party martinis so we probably lingered a little longer than normal, annoying a small, hungry mob waiting for tables but it meant we were able to try some of their giant gyoza.. ( Note the size of the regular gyoza below to the right.)
 and a couple of other, non soupy noodle dishes like the version below with pork mince and plenty of black sesame and spring onion - minus the broth.  I have it on good authority that their pork belly dishes are very good and that means I need to return.. so more on that some other time.  
It was a nice change to be able to order some greens alongside your ramen..
The grapefruit sawah (sours) are a very refreshing accompaniment to all that rich piggy goodness. I love that the fresh citrus is brought to your table for squeezing into your glass as much or as little as you like... you don't want to water down the alcohol too much right?
All in all it got the thumbs up from the group (documented below) but it's probably not my favourite Ramen shop in Kyoto town. It it however, one of the most convenient if you are in the city shopping area/CBD - and to be honest, I'm pathetically fussy so do try it for yourself and let me know your opinion.  And try the pork belly for me ! It is open for lunch from 11am and for dinner  - closing at 11:30 pm.   

Here's a link in Japanese - remember to use Google translate. There is a map to help you. 

*Hot tip if coming from Shijo street -  find the eastern corner of Daimaru department store and head north up that street until you hit the west exit of Nishiki market. Turn left - and it's just a couple of doors up on your left. Look for the pigs inside on the wall! 

Thanks for the recommendation Jesse S. 

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