The origin of Kyoto Chinese food is right here.
Text and Photo / Kenta Baba
“Chinese food in Kyoto is superb”
I heard about this word several times so far and saw it on a magazine, but I didn’t even realize how amazing it was until I actually ate Chinese food in Kyoto. I was like Chinese food in Kyoto? what do you mean?
My stay in Kyoto became several months so far and Kyoto local people took me to their ‘MY BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT’ and it completely nailed down my doubt.
Chinese food in Kyoto, it is superb. It is amazing.
After I recognized the great taste of Chinese food and whenever people say, “Let’s go to Chinese restaurant” in Kyoto, then there will be no doubt and the answer will be absolutely YES. I also tell my friends outside of Kyoto that Chinese food in Kyoto is super good. I actually want to be an ambassador of Chinese food in Kyoto.
What’s the root of Chinese food in Kyoto?
Even though I said that I wanted to be an ambassador of Chinese food in Kyoto, but I had no idea who made the Chinese food in Kyoto so much delicious. So, I studied immediately and finally found a Chinese chef whose name is Kakichi Ko who came to Japan in Taisho-era. He was the first Chinese head chef of Chinese restaurant called “Shina Ryori Hamamura’.
Master chef Ko arranged its own Chinese food into Kyoto style since it was not familiar with Kyoto food culture. After his becoming independent, he opened his restaurants such as ‘Hiun’ and ‘Daiichiro’, and his last restaurant ‘Houmai’ was his complication of ‘Kyoto style Chinese food’.
‘Houmai’ closed in 2009 and we can’t even touch the root of Kyoto style Chinese food…
However, it is not true. inherited its own taste and style from ‘Houmai’ which I would like to introduce at this article.
The Housen head chef, Mr.Fukuda used to cook at ‘Houmai’ for 42 years. It is more than just succeeding to his own restaurant, the taste and style is in his hands already which means that he has a root of Kyoto style Chinese food already.
At this restaurant, you are able to eat Kyoto style Chinese food which Mr.Ko thought out. They barely use spices and the taste becomes simple but amazingly refined. It tastes light, but somehow very deep.
One of their specialities is ’Ebi Kashiwa Soba’. In a thick starchy chicken soup, I can taste the best balance of Chinese mustard all over my mouth.
Deep fried chicken with hot sauce called ‘Karashi Miso’ is also very delicious.
Each dish has its own individuality, but it is also simple and very deep. This is one of the progress of Chinese food and it seems to me that this is also one of a Kyoto style cuisine, doesn’t it?
In this spring roll, it has a lot of bamboo shoots. In this Kyoto style Chinese food, this is the standard shape.
Regular customers ordered from this, but I don’t want you to worry at all. There is also a menu with photos like below.
‘Subuta’ (Sweet-and-sour pork) with lychee and cucumber, ‘Shumai’ (steamed dumpling) with an arrowhead, these are very popular menu in Chinese food in Kyoto.
The difference between all the Chinese restaurants in Kyoto is that the taste they have is all different. The common thing between them is that they are all good.
After I eat Chinese food in , I realize again that the chef and all the dishes they cook are incredible. I would like you to open the door of Kyoto style Chinese food with full of surprise and pleasure.
I heard that the word Mr.Kakichi Ko kept in his heart was ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’.
It totally makes sense.
ADDRESS : AXEAB Bldg 1F, 359 Shimizu-cho Nijo-agaru Kawaramachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto city
HOURS : 11:30 a.m. ~ 2:30 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. (weekdays) 11:30 a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. (weekends & holidays)
CLOSED : Monday
PHONE : +81 (0)75-241-6288