Soba, a Tokyo Tradition

Soba is a noodle made from buckwheat and buckwheat flour. It gained its firm foothold in Japanese cuisine in the Tokugawa Period (1603 -1868). Soba shops started popping up all over Tokyo (then Edo) during this time as the city became richer and people started realizing an all white rice and wheat flour diet did very little in helping keep a person alive. Westerners seem to think that Soba is the “healthy noodle”. It’s not unhealthy but I think it gets this reputation because unlike Udon or White Rice, Soba actually has nutritional content. You wont starve to death eating soba every day. It’s still loaded with carbs so don’t for a second think you’ve discovered some sort of magical way to sit around eating noodles all day.

Ginza Metro Station Soba

 

At some point in your visit to Toyko I am sure you will take a trip to wander around Ginza. I’ve got an awesome lunch suggestion for you. This is Ore No Dashi. Translation “My Dashi.” It’s located just as you exit Ginza station before you head to the surface, in the basement of the Ginza 5 building. If you’ve been reading these blog posts you’ll know dashi is the base ingredient to almost any Japanese food. It’s a broth of kelp and boiling water run over bonito flakes. It is used in (I’m assuming) all of the soups that are served with Soba at Ore No Dashi. This place takes a simple soba dish and jazzes it up with fancy ingredients and fake crystal chandeliers.

Stand and slurp

You’ll see stand and slurp soba spots all over train stations in Tokyo. Some are even on the platform after you’ve entered the turnstiles. I am guessing the working concept of Ore No Dashi is a stand and slurp station place with some glitz and glam thrown into the max. Still no chairs though. The soba and soups here are incredible and the menu is all over the place. Just head up to the counter, grab a tray and start fumbling your way through an order. They have an English menu so you’ll be fine. This place is always crowded at lunch time so you could even do a quick lap and see what the locals are eating.

Beers and Starters

Sort out your beers and starters.

Age Dofu. Deep fried tofu with bonito flake, scallions and grated daikon and ginger for dipping. Just pour a bit of soy sauce over the ginger and daikon and dig in. One of my all time favorite ways to eat tofu.
Dashi maki tamago. There’s the dashi again. This is an egg omelette served with more grated daikon that you can pour soy sauce on before eating. This is one of my favorite side dishes in Japan, eat as much as you can!

Cream cheese lightly covered in Miso and then torched. Ha! That’s madness. We used this on our soba as well and it was awesome!

Soba Dipping Platters

Takao got the beef soba. Long, thin strips of beef with tons of crispy seaweed served over a crap load of soba noodles. Pick it up, dip it in the dashi tsuyu soup and slurp away.

 

Never one to keep things too light I went for the spicy sesame dipping sauce and oh my was it good. It was similar to the Thai peanut sauce that comes with satay. Delicious! Those thinly sliced green onions on top really freshened the dish up.

So there you have it!
The world’s easiest lunch when visiting Ginza.
The Ore No Dashi group actually has several types of restaurants. Ore No French, Ore No Spanish, Ore No Italian, Ore No Yakiniku etc. I’ve been to a few and they are all reasonably priced and serve amazing food.

Enjoy!

Nearby Stations: Ginza Station on the Hibiya Metro Line and Marunouchi Metro Line

Nearby Attractions:
Ginza Kabuki Theatre – Kabukiza
Tsukiji Market
Uniqlo Flagship Store
Hamarikyu Gardens
Just go outside and look around, Ginza is nuts.

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