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When you’ve been to enough Japanese restaurants, you come to realize that a bowl of rice or miso soup can foretell the quality of an establishment’s other dishes. I like to think this rule also applies to a serving of pad thai at a Thai restaurant.

Pacuchi Deli in downtown Kyoto doesn’t disappoint with its take on the country’s signature noodle dish. It leans a little too heavy on the sweet side — a combination of the chili sauce, sugar and fish sauce — but this could just be an effort to satisfy local tastes. With its mixture of eggs, aburaage (fried tofu) and bean sprouts, it’s hearty and filling. And it’s as close as you’ll get to the Land of Smiles in Kyoto.

Pacuchi has three restaurants in Kyoto, none of which are fancy, and in its own way the chain aims to re-create a Thai atmosphere. During one visit, I noticed the same Thai pop song being played over and over, but I didn’t mind — I was enjoying my meal too much.

Another signature dish worth trying is the green curry. Thankfully, Pacuchi hasn’t toned down its fiery DNA. Beneath the viridescent soup lie big chunks of eggplant and chicken, bamboo and a handful of basil leaves. It’s a curry worth sweating over.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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