Abura Soba | Japanese Food Guide

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If you want to eat noodles, Japan in general, and Tokyo in particular, are paradise. There are many varieties to choose from, some of which you might have never heard of yet. There are different types of noodles but also the ingredients of the soup, options for toppings, and the way the noodles are prepared can differ. Abura soba is a type of Japanese noodles that hasn’t yet become famous outside of Japan but is sure to become a food trend one day.


Abura Soba: Oily Noodles

One type of noodles most tourists haven’t heard about yet is abura soba. It literally means ‘oily noodles’. Unlike the way noodles are usually prepared, abura soba has no soup. Instead, all the ingredients are stacked on top of each other and then mixed. The end result is a refreshing bowl of noodles and toppings without the fatty broth. And so, abura soba is promoted as the healthier option compared to traditional ramen with soup.

Abura soba originated in Tokyo, sometime in the 1950s but has not reached the popularity of ramen or udon. Abura soba first appeared in the Kitatama district. There are some popular food chains in the Kanto area that specialize in this type of noodles. And their popularity is still growing today. Abura soba is relatively easy to make since it does not require a soup base that takes half a day to prepare. Therefore, more and more ramen stores offer abura soba as an alternative menu option.

Where to Eat Abura Soba?

Among the most reputable places that serve abura soba is a chain called Abura Soba. With locations in Shibuya, Shinjuku, and other popular neighborhoods downtown Abura Soba is easy to find, and it became a popular option for a quick bite as it does not contain broth, it is served faster. The restaurants have the standard appearance of other restaurants specialized in noodles, with some small tables and a long bar for smaller groups of people or people who eat alone. The food ticket vending machine offers three sizes: normal, large, and wide.

Unlike tsukemen noodles, abura soba is served hot. Pork fat, oil, and hot sauce are poured into the bottom of the bowl, along with the noodles. The dish is then topped with green onions, bamboo shoots, pork, and dried seaweed. Condiments are usually white onions, pepper, oil, and vinegar.

Other common but optional additions include sesame, black pepper, spicy preserved vegetables, very chopped garlic, red ginger, cooked egg, raw egg, cheese, mayonnaise, and spicy condiments such as ichi-mi (chili powder) or even toubanjan (Chinese seasoning). A bowl of abura soba can be completely customized, so you can enjoy it as you like.

If you are fond of noodles and want to try something different, why not try some abura soba while you are in Tokyo?

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