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