Men-ya Inoichi Hanare (麺屋 猪一 離れ) in Kyoto serves ramen with a big salute from Michelin. They're most famous for a delicately arranged tsukemen (dipping ramen).
Men-ya Inoichi Hanare - Michelin Recommended
As of 2022, Michelin has recognized nine Kyoto ramen shops in their Bib Gourmand Guide. Men-ya Inoichi Hanare is one of them. They'e centrally located in Kyoto, with Shijo the closest station.
The convenient location and nod from Michelin understandably has made it popular with tourists. It therefore pays to visit outside of peak hours (avoid 12 pm - 1:30 pm).
Tsukemen - Dipping Ramen with Dashi
Men-ya Inoichi Hanare carries multiple types of ramen. But the tsukemen (dipping ramen) is what they're most proud of. In many ways, it's a powerful culinary representation of Kyoto. The soup is lightly seasoned with shiro shoyu (white soy sauce).
It has an overall gentle flavor, with sweetness coming from an abundance of negi (spring onions) and ginger. Parallel to this sweetness is the strong presence of dashi. The dashi includes high-grade Rausu kelp and several types of dried fish.
The subtle fish flavors are heightened by the pile of katsuobushi (shaved bonito fish flakes) on top of the soup. But there's a lot hiding beneath the surface as well.
Among toppings in the soup, the thin slices of pork are a big highlight. The pork is the local "Kyonoto Mochi Buta" brand.
The dipping noodles are thick and slippery. They come with a side of sea salt and sudachi (a citrus fruit) to add a little zing to the noodles.
Lastly, there's shredded kelp (konbu), which can be added as a soup condiment. I'd recommend only putting them in at the end. The shredded kelp bits are tasty. But they really increase the soup's salinity.
Worth the Wait?
Men-ya Inoichi Hanare is unlike other Kyoto ramen shops. That is, most Kyoto ramen is actually quite heavy. This said, I appreciate how they're different from their peers.
They have made a clear commitment to dashi and showcasing the delicate side of Kyoto cuisine.
Are there any cons? Perhaps it's just that they're overhyped. The 4.5+ Google review scores means that most customers are tourists. So waiting times can be long.
Regardless, they are a quality option for ramen (tsukemen) in Kyoto. Just make sure to visit outside of peak hours.