Kyoto's Famous Omurice: Kichi Kichi
Micole Soh May 5, 2016
If you love food and start off each travel adventure by searching for what is the most-raved-about food, you would likely have come across this video that went viral awhile back. Titled “the most awesome omurice in Kyoto”, with various versions of the experience available on YouTube, the video shows the process of which the chef at Kyoto’s Kichi Kichi restaurant makes his world-renowned Omu Rice. The video of chef Yukimura Motokichi gently placing an omelette egg on top of an oval-shaped rice, and then neatly slicing it open in half, revealing an egg half-cooked on the inside cascading down upon the rice was absolutely awe-inspiring. A visual feat in itself, the video made me decide that eating this dish was definitely on my bucket list, and I swore to visit Kyoto just for this. Omurice is an example of a Western-Japanese fusion dish. With “omu” referring to omelette, the dish generally refers to fried rice wrapped in egg. It is a simple dish found in Japanese restaurants worldwide, and can easily be cooked at home. Thus, few would imagine the dish being as sensational as it was for Kichi Kichi. A good 10-minute walk from Keihan Sanjou (京阪三条駅) Station, Kichi Kichi is tucked away in an inconspicuous alley which would make it difficult to find if not for GPS. Its red signboard, however, quickly attracted our attention, and we entered the small and cozy 8-seater restaurant immediately. We were greeted by a sole waitress who confirmed our reservation and provided us with English menus. While famous for its Omu Rice, Kichi Kichi also serves other dishes, such as beef stew and oxtongue stew. However, since we were here for the Omu Rice, we decided to order the “Fluffy Open Omu Rice”. The Omu Rice comes in two portions, and the waitress informatively showed us the corresponding rice moulds that would be used for each portion. The small portion is smaller than one’s palm, hence if you’re hungry, it would be advisable to go for the larger one. After placing our orders, the chef promptly got to work, showing off his skills and showmanship. The rice was first fried and placed on each of our plates. Next up was the egg. Tossing it in a small pan over the stove, he skillfully perfected the shape and texture of the omelette, placed it on top of the rice, and then sliced it open with a knife, revealing the semi-cooked, molten egg within. Lastly, a demi-glace sauce was poured on top of the glistening yellow egg and topped with some chives. The dish was so delicious that we polished off every morsel of it. Reservations have to be made and can be done at Kichi Kichi’s website. Reservations can be made up to 6 weeks in advance, so do book as early as you can. Dinner is from 5 – 9 pm, while lunch is only for weekends and holidays from 12 – 2 pm. Each reservation slot is for an hour, and diners are expected to be punctual, or at most 15 minutes late. Kichi Kichi is located at 京都市中京区材木町185-4.