The best foods to try in Kyoto! Delicious dishes with refined and delicate Kyoto flavors
Kyoto-style Udon Noodles
When walking around the many shrines, temple, and sightseeing spots in Kyoto, you will surely work up an appetite.
Udon noodles are a quick and easy yet filling dish and there is no shortage of restaurants serving them throughout the city.
However, if you come all the way to Kyoto, it is worth trying Kyoto-style Udon!
There is no particular definition of what makes Udon Kyoto-style, but one of our favorites is Udon noodles with thick Ankake starch sauce packed with lots of ginger, a warming and light-flavored dish which is a great way to warm up during the cold winter months.
Yudofu - Hot Tofu
Yudofu, a simple dish of tofu cooked in light Kombu kelp stock, is said to have its origins in Shojin cuisine eaten by monks at Nanzenji Temple.
Kyoto has a wide range of popular Yudofu restaurants,
from long-established restaurants with a traditional Kyoto feel, to more casual and relatively cheap ones.
The smooth and creamy tofu may taste even better when it is eaten in an atmospheric Kyoto setting,
Nishin Soba - Buckwheat Noodles with Herring
Nishin Soba, buckwheat noodles topped with dried filleted herring cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce, is probably Kyoto's best Soba dish.
In olden times, in Kyoto, a city surrounded by mountains and far from the sea, seafood was a precious commodity.
During a certain period, residents learned that protein and nutrients could be obtained from dried fish and other dried foodstuffs.
The flavor combination of the delicate soup stock and rich, sweet and spicy herring became popular and remains so even now.
Saikyo Yaki - Miso Marinated Grilled Fish
Saikyo Yaki, which is said to have originated in Kyoto, is made by marinating fish such as salmon or Spanish mackerel in seasoned sweet miso and then grilling it.
In Kyoto, fish was a valuable preserved food source and considered to be a luxury item.
Saikyo Yaki is a traditional Kyoto dish which is served in both restaurants in Kyoto Kaiseki banquets and in the homes of locals.
As well as salmon, fillets of mackerel, black cod, and gnomefish are also used in the dish. The fillets of fish are marinated in sweet miso and are easy to eat as they have no bones or strong fishy taste. Even people who don't normally like fish can enjoy this dish.
Senmai-zuke - Picked Turnip
Kyoto is famous for its Tsukemono pickled vegetables. Among Tsukemono, Senmai-zuke, lightly pickled slices of turnip, is the firm favorite.
The name comes from the way the pickles are prepared: before pickling, local Shogoin turnip from Kyoto is sliced so thinly that you could imagine cutting 1000 slices ("senmai") from a single vegetable.
The thin slices of turnip marinated in sweet vinegar with Kombu kelp and chili have a soft texture and delicate, refined flavor and a pack of these pickles makes a delightful souvenir.