For someone like me that loves Italy for several reasons but especially for its authentic semolina fresh egg pasta variety, visiting Tokyo was like eating my way through a jumbo glorified pasta experience only this time, with noodles! From one noodle restaurant to another, I was on a quest for the perfect noodle! The variety of noodles is impressive and plentiful, exciting to choose from yet overwhelming as to where to start!
I’ve summed up a basic, yet necessary, ‘noodle guide‘ when in search for the perfect noodle in Tokyo!
Soba: Made from buckwheat flour, strong flavor. There are pure buckwheat noodles and some are made with wheat flour. Dried soba may resemble spaghetti or bucatini pasta.
Udon: Wheat noodles, photo to the left. I prefer the fresh over the dried, you’ll notice the difference in the texture!
Vermicelli Rice: Made from rice flour, think … thin angel hair pasta.
Rice: Made from rice flour.
In my opinion, the broth and noodles really make the dish, with so many variations to choose from.
Photo: An afternoon filled with rain in Japan makes for a impromptu lunch break to slurp some noodles before walking along the storefronts and souvenir shops.
Shopping in Tokyo is pretty common in areas like Ginza where the fashion and department stores are high-end and chic boutiques, restaurants and stores line the streets. But shopping of where to dine for the perfect noodle is a whole different story!
My two favorite noodle experiences in Tokyo:
Dinner at YABU SOBA (6-9-16 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture), a memorable authentic soba noodle shop located in Ueno (the cities top tourist draw for centuries, ‘Ueno Park‘) in the Asakusa area, Tokyo.
Our Menu favorites: Traditional soba dish and a tempura shrimp soba dish. ‘Oishii’ Delicious!
Photo: fresh noodles being made at YABU SOBA in Ueno, Asakusa
Lunch at MAISEN in Omotesando area, a fashion forward area in Tokyo.
Restaurant is well-known for tonkatsu, pork cutlet.
Our Menu favorites: Curry Udon Noodles with kurobuta ground pork cutlet and a pork (tempura-style) cutlet, tiger prawn, croquette.
Friendly note: Little time to sit down to eat? Omotesando MAISEN restaurant location has a convenient to-go (take-a-way) window on the side of the restaurant serving their famous pork cutlet sandwiches and tea!
Fun Fact: MAISEN has been in business since 1965 and one can appreciate the subway white tiles decor. Don’t forget to admire the high ceilings from the minute you walk in!
Peace, Love, Gelato,