Kyoto's interactive art installation x ramen shop—for vegans!
Posted on January 28, 2021
Whether you’re simply vegan-curious or if you’re on a strictly plant-based diet and worried about being able to eat to your heart’s content on your next Japan trip, get ready to add ramen to your list of foods you’ll be comfortably checking off! Ramen is typically a food that always contains meat, using pork, chicken, or fish based broths. Kyoto’s collaboration with art collective teamLab however, brings the vegan and vegetarian community its much awaited vegan ramen in three authentic flavors—soy-sauce, spicy miso, and sansho pepper. Vegan or not, this unprecedented art installation-cum-ramen shop is a must-visit if you happen to pass through Kyoto!
photo by @mii__________n
Before you enter the restaurant, you’ll be met with the simplicity and beauty of the building’s exterior.
photo by @ryutheempire
Upon entering, the transient calligraphy displays by teamLab which light up the room might make you feel like you’ve just walked into an interactive art museum as opposed to a restaurant. With mirrors for walls, the moving calligraphy strokes dance endlessly into the darkness. Famous for their projection mapping installations, teamLab never fails in providing fully immersive and breathtaking experiences.
photo by @tomokadooon
For such a spacious interior, there are in fact a total of only 16 seats. Your seat will light up when you sit down, effectively making you a part of the exhibition yourself!
photo by @__mi.o1
UZU Kyoto partners with UberEats, meaning that the whole city can reap the benefits of these tasty vegan meals safely from the comforts of their homes.
photo by @hikarukiyo
Listed on the menu as the “soy-sauce ramen,” this vegan ramen broth is made with kelp, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetables, resulting in a rich yet mellow flavor. The noodles, too, aren’t just regular wheat noodles you’d usually find at ramen shops. Here at UZU, they have taken special care to source their noodles using Hokkaido wheat from pesticide-free whole grains. Finally, topped off with grilled tomatoes, you are left with the perfect amount of sourness to complement the existing flavors of the broth.
photo by @yui_0523_yui
For the more palate-adventurous, the “spicy miso ramen” is sure to get those taste buds tingling with delight. Both soy-sauce and miso ramen bowls are priced at 1,200 yen.
photo by @kairu_toru
Owner and chef, Ryo Kataoka envisioned creating an authentic ramen experience that would not compromise the quality of taste that you can find at usual ramen shops. Rather than settling for a gentle taste, he created his own unique blend of flavors using vegetables to achieve the optimal synergy of umami.
photo by @kosygram9
Other than ramen, you can also order vegan gyoza dumplings as well as vegan sushi. These vegan dumplings are made from soybean meat, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, perilla, leek, ginger, garlic, and miso. There are two accompanying sauces including a traditional vinegar sauce as well as a spicy miso sauce.
photo by @yuu.pon_photo
Unlike most ramen shops that serve their customers at the counter, at UZU there is just one big table for everyone to sit at. The table also functions as a stage that mirrors the moving artwork by teamLab. Anyone else get fashion runway vibes?
photo by @maito_new
Did we mention you can also get vegan sweets? This vegan mochi ice cream platter is served with vanilla ice cream, homemade matcha sauce, and a brown sugar tuile.
photo by @onsokurei
There are English menus available as well so you don’t have to worry about scrambling to pull up Google Translate this time!
146 Umenoki-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Written by: Maya Kimura Watts