Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan ‘Instant’ Miso Soup

Kyoto Quality Instant Miso Soup: Honda Miso Honten is a shinise miso producer and dealer that has been in business in Kyoto for about 170 years. Honda Miso is located just west side of the Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace. The Honda Miso retail store occupies a very beautiful old Kyoto machiya townhouse with a full selection of their long loved varieties of miso paste and some other new and interesting products such as white miso caramel!

Hondo Miso doesn’t just make traditional things, a real shinise is said to develop with the times. Honda Miso now offers an ‘instant’ type miso soup that is quick and easy to make and does have the refined taste of Kyoto. It is called Ichi Wan, which literally means ‘one bowl’, because it makes just one serving of miso soup. I don’t usually go for instant foods but this looked like it could be a winner and it is from Honda Miso so I gave it a try.

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Ichiwan Miso Soup Package

Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁 油揚げ
Honda Miso’ Ichiwan Miso Soup comes in three flavors and I chose abura age which means deep fried tofu. The shell looks like monaka as in this article but it is made from fu, which is wheat gluten. Inside is Kyoto-style sweet white miso, abura age and daikon radish, these ingredients are freeze dried and reconstitute immediately upon application of hot water.

Fu is a common ingredient in Kyoto cuisine and was popularized by Buddhist monks in centuries past.

How To Make Ichiwan Miso
1. Unwrap
2. Break apart dried wheat gluten ‘fu’ shell
3. Pour on hot water
4. Allow to reconstitute (I waited about 1 minute)
5. Stir a bit and enjoy

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Ichiwan Miso Soup Unwrapped - Perhaps a Bit Bland to the Eye and Senses

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Ichiwan Miso Soup Broken Apart in the Bowl

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Ichiwan Miso Soup Served

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Ichiwan Miso Soup - Fu, Daikon and Agedofu

How did it taste?
The taste is the classic Kyoto-style sweet miso soup but I was struck by the variety of textures. The fu is very soft and gooey, the abura age is spongy and chewy and the daikon slivers are quite crunchy and chewy. I was really impressed with the taste and especially the textures. In addition to being quick and convenient, it was fun to make and eat!

My only criticism, as someone that has designed and developed a few products is that after the shell is broken apart and reconstituted, the shapes of the chunks of fu are unpleasant to the eye. This wouldn’t pass muster as Kyoto-style. I removed a few particularly uneven shaped and large pieces of fu before I took the photos above. Sorry, I cheated. I think that what they need to do is to score or perforate the fu somehow so that it breaks into more regular or square shaped pieces. That would make it ‘Kyoto’ and that would be quite a feat for instant soup but with a little Japanese kaizen, I am sure they can perfect the design!

Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan Miso Soup 本田味噌本店 一わんみそ汁

Honda Miso Honten Retail Store (本田味噌本店)

This is the entrance to Honda Miso, it is about a 3 minute walk from the Imperial Palace.

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8 Responses to “Kyoto Honda Miso Ichiwan ‘Instant’ Miso Soup”

  1. Arun says:

    Such an inventive way of packaging soup! Looks like a cute little biscuit when it’s whole. What other flavours did they have?

  2. chieko says:

    Do you think if it was sliced neatly, you could get a more uniform appearance?

  3. Corie L Stern says:

    I love miso soup! Will have to see if they sell this at the Japanese Grocery Store downtown Seattle! Informative article as always! Thank you! Corie

  4. Dennis K. says:

    This is the coolest thing ever.

  5. Faith says:

    Wow, this is great! I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks delicious, and I love how you described all the wonderful textures!

  6. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Arun, Sorry, I do not recall the other two flavors. I will check next time I go by there.

    Hello Chieko, Due the the curved shape and delicate nature of the fu shell, I don’t think it would be possible to cut it into clean shapes. On contact, the knife would just break it apart. Also, then the daikon and abura age would get chopped up too. I think the solution has to be designed.

    Hello Corie, I am going to interview someone later this month from Honda Miso, I will ask if any of their products are available abroad.

    Hello Dennis, Yes it is quite cool! However, there are a fair number of instant miso products available that are quite high quality. This is the best that I have seen and I don’t recall seeing anything in a fu shell like this. Shiruko in a monaka shell is fairly common.

    Hello Faith, Thanks! I was really impressed with the quality and variety of the textures.

  7. TK says:

    Hi there.
    I tried this the other night and really liked it.
    I put the unwrapped ‘fu’ as is into the bowl, waited a bit then cut in half with my chopsticks.
    The miso etc came out and flavored the hot water and the ‘fu’ kept its shape. It looked good.
    I really enjoyed the taste of the miso and have been back to buy more for friends. Will keep some on hand in the kitchen for those nights I’m not making miso.
    Thanks KyotoFoodie.

  8. Watch Shrek says:

    I usually don’t comment on posts, but your post called on me to applaud your writings. Thank you for writing up this great read, I’ll make sure to favorite your site and check in occasionally. Cheers.

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