Gion Duck Noodles serves delicious duck ramen in the heart of Kyoto. They were recently named one of West Japan's best ramen shops by Tabelog.
Gion Duck Noodles
Smart naming on their part? Gion Duck Noodles is smack dab in the middle of Gion, Kyoto's posh commercial district. They're run by the Menroku Group, who operate 3 ramen shops in Kyoto and Osaka. All 3 shops specialize in duck ramen.
Menroku's owner has a background in both ramen and French cuisine. This East West dichotomy is clearly visible in terms of how everything is prepared in the kitchen.
Let's start with the soup in their trademark ramen. It's delicate. But there's heft and fattiness from boiled duck bones. The flavoring almost makes you think it's not ramen. There's something modern and Western about it.
The ducks they use for the soup are the Kisshu brand from Wakayama prefecture. They use the same premium duck brand for the duck toppings. Furthermore, when ordering, you can choose what cut of duck you'd like for them.
Pictured - 3 slices of duck loin, 1 slice of duck breast, and 1 slice of duck thigh. They're all sous vide and incredibly soft. Kaiware sprouts and a soft-boiled egg complete the toppings. The bowl is also adorned with decorative sansho numbing pepper.
Finally, the noodles are thin and have whole wheat flecks in them. These delicate noodles match a delicate soup.
Popular and Cozy
Gion Duck Noodles is smushed between two buildings. A sign will lead you to the narrow alleyway where their entrance is located. This alleyway will likely have a line of people. They have a tiny space and this adds to the pileup.
It's cute - their menu has little emoji instead of text. But have no fear. Their staff are helpful if you have any questions when ordering (you order while waiting in line).
Visit them before the line gets too long!