Monday, July 16, 2007

Japan 2: Tokyo 2: Soba @ Ueno

Tucked in the back alleys, away from the main streets, this restaurant, やぶそば, is indeed a hidden treasure of Ueno 上野。 It took quite a bit of effort, of reading the obscure map, from asking ordinary Japanese who pointed to a certain direction while mumbling something unknown, the search was almost called off. Luckily, this restaurant was finally found. From Ueno station, go across the road which is under a bridge, turn left and on the right, there will be a side walk. Go into the side walk and turn left till one reaches the side entrance of a shopping centre. Turn to the right for a couple more steps and the restaurant will be on the right.

Seated at the restaurant, a welcoming and elegant cup of tea was served promptly to customers once they arrived. No questions asked and no delay. Unlike many restaurants in Singapore, particularly Chinese, restaurants in Japan that serve tea or water to customers automatically does not have any hidden agenda, meaning these drinks served do not have a hidden additional cost; they are completely free. A very much respected social etiquette.


Most customers in this restaurants are middle aged salarymen or more elderly people. At first, the restaurant was quite empty, so there were doubts of the quality of this restaurant. But eventually, the restaurant gets filled up.

Comfortable setting and atmosphere can be experienced in this restaurant. The chef can be seen busy cooking through the translucent curtains.

This hearty warm bowl of noodles, filled with some unknown mushroom, seaweed and probably radish 大根 shoots. the broth light but wonderfully flavoured. It was a totally healthy dish, but the lack of any meat may not be entirely suitable for meat eaters. 878円。

The soba served in this restaurant was most likely kneaded by the chef of this restaurant, which means that customers can expect high standards from their dish. This set came with grated yam, seaweed and wasabi. The yam gives the noodles a sticky texture. Please note that the wasabi served, was the real wasabi from the real wasabi root, not just simply the paste. The difference is that the real wasabi has a much lighter taste than the paste, it is also inconsistent in texture due to the presence of fibre and juice from the roots, and the taste is definitely more delicate and refined. At 750円, it is definitely much better than Shimbashi Soba in Singapore, both in terms of price and quality.

This kitsumen, most probably handmade by the chefs of this restaurant, is probably the best noodle dish experienced. The wonderful texture of these noodles was accompanied by grated daikon, daikon shoots, dashi flakes, and some unknown items, probably only to be found in this part of the world. At 878円, it is totally worth it.

For the cold noodles, the waitress will serve a small pot of warm liquid which was the water that was used to cook the noodle. It is used to pour together with the sauce for the noodles, and to be drank. The precious sauce from the chef's hard work cannot be left wasted. For foreigners, this practice may only be experienced in Japan. This tip is being shared here so as to save some embarrassment from curious stares or frowns from the salarymen while the waitress trying hard to explain in Japanese.

Grade: 8.5/10

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Sarah (13) said...

omg ive been to all of those places and my grandmother lives by the genbaku dome.

25/8/08 02:17  

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