There is a bullish ramen shop in Kyoto that calls itself “Kami (God in English)”, but the name “Kami” is more than just a bluff; it is a popular ramen store in Kyoto that won the Best Ramen in 2014 from Tabelog and now owns three other stores in Kyoto in addition to the main store…
When I arrived at the Mibu main branch of that store, Seabura no Kami (God of Back Fat), just before it opened, there were already five or six customers ahead of me in line. The restaurant has 7 counter seats and 2 tables (note: total seats: 16 according to Tabelog), so with this many people, you can enter the restaurant as soon as it opens with zero waiting time without any problem.
However, within about 10 minutes after that, the empty seats were quickly filled, showing that this is indeed a popular restaurant. Especially on holidays, there may be a line of people waiting in line before the restaurant opens.
When you enter the restaurant, there is a ticket machine on your left. The menu looks like this…
Three types of noodles are on the regular menu: back fat niboshi soba, mazesoba, and tsukemen. In addition to this regular menu, we also do a limited menu that changes monthly. The link to the restaurant’s website is posted at the end of this article, so if you are interested, why not check it out there?
Admire the amount of back fat as expected! Try the special back fat niboshi soba, the signature dish of the Mibu Honten, and you will be amazed…
The signature menu item at the popular Seabura-no-Kami restaurant is the “Special Back Fat Niboshi Soba” (price: 800 yen including tax → 980 yen). The restaurant’s website states that it is “our version of Tsubame-Sanjo-style ramen, which is Niigata’s local ramen.
This made me wonder, “What is Tsubame-Sanjo-style ramen? I googled it before buying a meal ticket. Tsubame-Sanjo-kei Ramen is commonly known as “back fat niboshi,” and was originally created as a delivery menu for workers at local factories before World War II. The noodles are tough and hard to spread, and the soup is thickened with soy sauce, and enough back fat is added to prevent the ramen from getting cold and to soften the saltiness of the soy sauce.
Then, let’s try their Niboshi Soba with back fat! So, I ordered the “Special Back Fat Niboshi Soba” with full toppings (priced at 1100 yen including tax → 1330 yen). You can choose between medium-thick or thick noodles, but if you want to taste the Tsubame-Sanjo style, we recommend the thick noodles.
So, here is the special back fat niboshi soba that arrived on the table about 10 minutes after we handed over our meal ticket…
Four large pieces of rare pink chashu pork cover 2/3 of the bowl, and when the boiled egg is broken in half, chopped green onions and bamboo shoots… The soup glimpsed through the cracks reveals a lot of back fat floating in the soup, which is true to its sign.
Let’s start with the soup, which is quite oily as it looks. However, the soup also has a strong flavor of niboshi (dried sardines) soup stock and soy sauce that is as rich as the back fat. This means that, aside from the dried sardines, there is a possibility that there is quite a bit of salt in the soy sauce, which is not noticeable due to the taste of the back fat…people with high blood pressure may seriously need to be careful with this soup.
On the other hand, if you want to reduce the fat content of the back fat…we recommend adding the black rose seaweed provided at the table. It will expand with the broth like the aosa nori, absorbing the fat and adding to the nori’s savory flavor, making the ramen much easier to eat. The lid says, “Don’t put too much!” on the lid, but I was able to add three to four cups with the included spoon and still enjoy the taste.
The noodle for this soup is thick and coarse noodle made by Menya Egbe, which is well-known in Kyoto. It is thick and firm enough to be used for mazesoba, which is more like eating noodles with a crunchy texture than slurping them down. It is the best noodle for those who want to eat a hearty soup because the soup is so thick that it will be defeated by the soup.
Rare chashu pork cooked at low temperature, which is not so rare nowadays. It is not juicy because of its low fat content, but the flavor of the meat is packed inside.
In sum, it is a back fatty ramen that is not ashamed to call itself the “God of Back Fat”. In addition, the combination of “niboshi (dried sardines) and back fat” is rare in the Kyoto area, making this ramen a rarity that is worth a visit. This back fat niboshi soba is not available at the affiliate stores, Seabura no Kami Fushimi Goriki and Nishiki Seabura no Kami, so if you are interested in this ramen after reading this article, please visit the Seaburanojin Mibu Honten.
Mazesoba: A hidden favorite menu item at Ceabranokami, different from mazesoba at other restaurants…
Next, we would like to introduce you to a hidden favorite menu item at Seabura no Kami Mibu Honten, mazesoba (special: priced at 1,050 yen (tax included) → 1,100 yen). It is what is called “abura soba,” but the mazesoba served at Ceaburanojin is a little different from the mazesoba served at other restaurants, right from the look…
The mazesoba that arrived on the table looks like this. Visible from the top are various toppings such as block chashu pork, chopped onion, and black rose seaweed. There is also a good amount of seasoned fishmeal. You can smell the aroma of fishmeal and nori from the bowl. But what is that white substance on top of the toppings?
Aside from that, follow the directions that are propped up on the table…
Stir this bowl from the bottom as hard as you can and eat it… I was surprised for a moment when I put it in my mouth. I was surprised for a moment when I put it in my mouth. It has a tremendous pork flavor. The aroma of the black rose seaweed and fishmeal, which had been so evident before I stirred the bowl, was almost lost in the haze of the bowl. The rich pork flavor that seemed to have been squeezed from the bone marrow was similar to the tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen I once had at Mutetsubou Osaka’s main restaurant, “As much pork as possible”.
The noodles that covered the rich pork flavor were the same as those used in the “back fat dried noodle soup”? The noodles are the same as those used in the back fat niboshi soba. The noodles are made by a noodle factory, but the unique frizz and unevenness of the noodles creates a texture similar to handmade noodles. The thick sauce is firmly entwined with the noodles because of this frizz, and the intense pork flavor jumps into your mouth at once along with the noodles… Isn’t this a perfect dish for those who want to be covered in pork bones? Make use of the rice to finish off the rich pork flavor (by the way, it seems that rice from Hachidaime Gihee is used for Seabura no Kami’s rice).
If you get sick of the food halfway through the meal, try the taste-changing items provided at the table. There are five types available: apple cider vinegar, eating raayu, chopped garlic, black seven spice, and chili pepper. In addition, you can add black rose seaweed. Try different flavors to find the one you like best.
Chicken Nanban: A Chinese side dish that is a bit unusual for a ramen restaurant…
Shall I also introduce you to the side menu of Seabra no Kami? This is the Chicken Nanban (1 piece, price 200 yen → 230 yen) ordered with mazesoba. The meat inside is chicken thigh, and the thin, crispy batter is topped with sweet-and-sour sauce and tartar sauce.
When you pierce through the thin batter, the juices of the chicken thigh come out from the inside. The juices are mixed with the tartar sauce and sweet-and-sour sauce, amplifying the flavor and making the dish jump into your mouth… Frankly speaking, it is beyond the realm of a side dish at a ramen restaurant. Frankly speaking, it is beyond the realm of a side dish at a ramen restaurant. This alone should be enough to fill two bowls of white rice.
Fortunately, Sebra no Kami offers free refills of rice (priced at 150 yen → 180 yen), so we recommend that those who are not satisfied with ramen alone, order these as a set and gobble down the rice as well.
Back fat on the side menu, too… To get to the Seabura no Kami Mibu Head Shop, the nearest station is Omiya Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line (Shijo-Omiya Station on the Keifuku Electric Railway), a 6-minute walk away!
In addition to ramen, the restaurant also offers a side menu item called “Seabu rice” (priced at 200 yen (tax included) → 250 yen), which is made with back fat. But, isn’t the idea of having back fat niboshi-soba and a side of rice at the same time an immoral menu item that is the equivalent of fatty rice for fatty people? I can’t imagine I would ever try it, but if you have tried it, please let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Store data is here…
Searbra no Kami Mibu Head Shop out of 5.
Address: 1F Daystar Avenue, 25-4 Mibu Aiai-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: 075-432-7077
Business hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00, Dinner 18:00-22:00
Closed: January 1 (New Year’s Day) only
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (meal ticket system)
P.S. If you are looking for good ramen in Kyoto, please stop by this article…
P.P.S. By the way, Niigata Tsubame-Sanjo type ramen is also available in Osaka…