(Photo above: Danny from the world famous Japanese band, the 50 Kaitenz, unknowingly posing with me – Mike Rogers – for the Gaijin Gourmet at Hamazushi!)
Looking for the best places to eat and dine in Tokyo and Japan before the upcoming Tokyo Olympics? Welcome to the Original Gaijin Gourmet!
The ancient scrolls of the Wikipedities say:
Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It is synonymous with a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour, and in Japan can refer to any thin noodle (unlike thick wheat noodles, known as udon). Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.
It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn. In Japan, buckwheat is produced mainly in Hokkaido. Soba that is made with newly harvested buckwheat is called “shin-soba”. It is sweeter and more flavorful than regular soba.
In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of settings: they are a popular inexpensive fast food at train stations throughout Japan, but are also served by expensive specialty restaurants. Markets sell dried noodles and men-tsuyu, or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation easy. Some establishments, especially cheaper and more casual ones, may serve both soba and udon as they are often served in a similar manner.
Soba is the traditional noodle of choice for Tokyoites.
In many places in Tokyo the Soba Wars are in full swing. Let me introduce you to what I think are the major players at Hanzomon on the Hanzomon Line. Leave the station at exit 5 to find both of these battling warriors within sixty-seconds walk from each other.
The first one is Yude-Taro. Just across the street from exit 5 as you walk out the station. In my opinion, Yude- Taro is the Empire of the Soba Shops; it is cheap, delicious and clean; the others pale in comparison.
The trump card for Yude Taro is that the soba noodles are made on the premises. This place is cheap but just as delicious as a shop that costs twice the price. I have also read that a man who is considered an expert on Soba said in an interview that he thought Yude Taro was the “Best Soba in Japan.”
….. And now, to the rebel base!
The next place that isn’t quite as tasty (in my opinion) as Yude Taro is Komoro Soba (about a 45 second walk around the corner). BUT! Komoro Soba is cheaper by about ¥30 ($.50) a plate for the soba. If you are on a budget, then maybe Komoro Soba is for you. The exact same menu of Large Zaru soba with Wakame (seaweed) is ¥390 at Yude Taro (about $4.70) but at Komoro Soba it is ¥310 (about $3.90)… Now, if you are a cheap skate bastard like me, that makes a difference – ESPECIALLY when you are eating this healthy and wholesome food everyday for a week or a month!
To go to Komoro Soba, you need to walk out of the station and turn left (and left again at the corner) instead of walking across the street to Yude Taro)
The soba alone is ¥290 at Komoro Soba (about $3.68) while it is ¥360 (about $4.60) at Yude Taro. Yude Taro tastes a bit better (of course, their noodles are made on premises, but it depends on your pocketbook if it is worth it or not. And, unless you’ve eaten soba a lot, you might not be able to tell the difference!)
Map of the galaxy (Hanzomon)…. Go and seek.
There is no try. There is only do or not do.
Do try these great places to eat. May the force be with you!
Looking for the best sushi in Tokyo?:
Tokyo’s Best Cheap Sushi is in Okachimachi!? 東京の一番安くて美味しい寿司屋？御徒町にあるの？ http://robot55.jp/blog/tokyos-best-cheap-sushi-in-okachimachi/
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