after plenty of fast casual, vending machine style ramen meals, we were happy to find gogya in kyoto for a proper sit-down, long dinner (see timeout kyoto review here). gogya has a great dinnertime vibe, but it’s the burnt miso ramen that’s the star of the show. you can choose from burnt soy or burnt miso as the base of your ramen (we did miso) and while it may sound weird, it’s absolutely delicious and tasted completely different from any other ramen we had. in addition to the ramen, we were treated to a few complimentary appetizers like japanese pickled vegetables and ordered japanese style fried chicken with lemon juice. yum!
at gogya, we happened to be sat next to the only other westerners in the restaurant, an australian couple from sydney. after striking up conversation and finishing our meals, the four of us ventured down a back alley to a tiny izakaya (japanese-style bar) that was owned by an american obsessed japanese man. there was an american flag, he wore an american flag pin on his lapel and had michael jackson videos playing on repeat. he was super excited to meet us USA kids.
in fact, the japanese really do seem to be obsessed with american culture. so many of the shops promote american brands, anything USA branded is a hot seller and tons of restaurants promote american-style food and drink. we were always greeted with big smiles and bows.