Genya Ramen: Sake Kasu Ramen 伏見酒粕らーめん 玄屋
Sake Kasu Ramen: Yesterday I stopped in at Genya Ramen in Fushimi to try their famous sake kasu ramen. Sake kasu is the ‘lees’, what is left after pressing sake mash. Fushimi is the second largest sake producing region of Japan, so there is plenty of sake kasu around town. Sake kasu is often used as a soup base too. Sake kasu in ramen is something that I hadn’t heard of before. It is a very unique dish!
Sake Kasu Ramen: Great Concept, Pretty Good Ramen
I had wanted to try this restaurant since I heard about it and finally made it. I thought that the concept is really great because Fushimi, in south Kyoto, is the second largest sake producing region in Japan so Genya made a ramen dish on that theme. Unfortunately I thought that the taste was just ‘good’, not great. I was hoping for ‘great’. That said, I guess that I would still recommend it; if you are into ramen and/or sake, Genya is a nice place for a novel ramen lunch. The service was good, polite and quite friendly. The restaurant was bustling at lunchtime the weekday that I was there.
Sake Kasu Ramen – served
Sake Kasu Ramen
Sake Kasu Ramen and Abura Age
This deep-fried tofu, abura age, is the wrapping for inarizushi, Fushimi’s famous ‘sushi’. Another local, and clever touch.
My Two Complaints
1. If I hadn’t known that the soup included sake kasu, would I have realized it just from the taste? I don’t think so. That was my main disappoint. I want to taste the ingredients, not just ‘know’ they are in the dish. (This is fairly common in Kyoto. Light, subtle taste equates to sophistication in Kyoto. But this isn’t subtle, it’s just too light. If you can’t taste it, what is the point? Is it even there?) Ramen isn’t exactly subtle or sophisticated food anyway. So, I say, bring it on! Mainly I could taste the pork in the soup. It just tasted like old-fashioned ramen soup, the taste in Japan from like 80 years ago. Some people like it, I guess I am looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary.
When you have kasu-jiru (kasu soup) in Japan, you can definitely taste the kasu. I mean, you can get a buzz from it sometimes. So, I feel justified in expecting to taste the kasu. OK, I rest my ‘kasu case’.
2. The noodles. The quality of the noodles also disappointed me a bit. They were really run of the mill type ramen noodles. Sake kasu ramen is special, or at leas tought to be, and I was expecting that the noodles would be pretty good.
No sake on the menu. Come on! This is fushimi, this is a sake kasu ramen shop, offer me some sake!
Genya Ramen Interior
Genya Ramen Interior – Sakagura Cash Register
The cash register ‘facade’ looks like a traditional Fushimi Sake Brewery! Never seen one of those before!
Genya Ramen Storefront
Genya Ramen Storefront
Genya Ramen Storefront – Sake Barrel ‘Sign’
Genya Ramen Storefront – Handwritten Menu
Genya Ramen Storefront – Noren Shop Curtain
— location coming soon –