Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)

Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)

Isshindo is a very small, outdoor yatai (stall) style restaurant with the atmosphere of the ubiquitous yatai of Japan common near train stations at night catering to commuters on their way home for a quick meal. Isshindo adds just the right amount of style and sophistication to the dining experience.

Isshindo is actually enclosed by a wooden fence but has no roof over the seating area. On rainy days an awning is deployed which fully protects patrons from the rain. Depending on the season, there is a roaring air conditioner or gas heater ameliorating temperature extremes.

Isshindo seats only about 12 people and has a very friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. The staff, while frantically preparing orders are always very friendly.

Isshindo’s menu is minimal with several signature ramen dishes, well worth the venture a few blocks up north from the city center and just about a five minute walk down from Kyoto Gosho (the Imperial Palace).

Isshindo refers to it’s ramen as ‘soba’ which is not unusual though most Japanese these days think of ramen as ‘ramen‘ and soba as ‘soba‘ (Japanese buckwheat noodles).

Like many noodle shops, you can specify how your noodles are to be cooked; al dente, regular or soft.

Isshindo features two types of ramen soup base; tonkotsu (pork bone) and torigara (chicken bones).

Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)
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This dish is the famous of Isshindo. It features a garnish of scallions, zha cai (Chinese pickle, zasai in Japanese), and topped with short-necked clams. Shellfish and ramen is a shocking combination, unimaginable in Kyoto.

The soup base is a combination of pork and chicken stock.

Isshindo Soba is a must try, a ’9′.

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Isshindo Soba, detail, clams and zha cai (and a little chashu)

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Isshindo Soba, kaedama (a second helping of noodles)

Chuka Soba (中華そば)
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Chuka Soba, literally, ‘Chinese soba’.

The soup is a combinations of pork and chicken stock and shoyu (soy sauce), and a simple garnish of menma (fermented bamboo shoot), scallion, chashu (roasted pork) and paprika.

This dish is slightly richer than Isshindo Soba, a more typical ramen appealing to patrons that want a standard ramen, but with a Isshindo twist.

Isshindo’s Chuka Soba is a ’7′.

K.F. PekoPeko:
Isshindo is one of my all-time favorite ramen shops. I only order the Isshindo Soba, often with mentaiko gohan, which is pretty good, though I am not much of a fan of mentaiko.

Isshindo Soba like all ramen is a richly flavored dish, but it is not over bearing. Combining several ingredients unusual to ramen such as clams and zha cai with Kyoto scallions, coarsely sliced to produce a ramen unlike any other.

K.F. PakuPaku:
I like that additional garnish on the ramen dishes, such as additional chashu, which is great when I am in the mood for a rich and meaty dinner. Great on a winter evening!

Isshindo Soba Exterior:
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English: no English menu, no website

Map:

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One Response to “Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)”

  1. Nils von Barth says:

    Sad to say, Isshindo Soba *closed* at the end of 2011. (Just went by yesterday; it was closed and there was a sign to that effect.)

    However, they are looking to reopen in spring, and meanwhile, there’s a sister restaurant next door (東龍 Tōryū), which is currently serving Isshindo’s “Chuka Soba” (unfortunately not the Isshindo Soba though). I lunched at Tōryū, ordering their usual ramen – it was pretty good (tonkotsu and soy base, stir-fried vegetables and chopped leek (and chāshū) topping), but not terribly special (they also serve 排骨(パークー, pākū) Taiwanese-style ribs, which look interesting).

    Looking forward to trying Isshindo Soba if and when it re-opens!

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