January 10

Fat Noodles

Can’t decide which is more beautiful, the lovely composition that arrives from the chef, or the pile of gooey goodness awaiting consumption when it’s all mixed up and ready to eat.

This is abura soba, which – confusingly enough – is neither loaded with fat (abura) nor made with traditional buckwheat noodles (soba). It is, however, one of the best lunches I’ve ever had.

At this noodle shop in Hiroo I bought my tickets at the door from a machine that let me choose between Regular, Medium and Large servings of plain noodles, then picked the add-on toppings. I got mine with roasted pork, bamboo shoots, green onions, a perfectly soft-boiled egg, and seaweed.

Instead of broth, abura soba noodles are served atop a slightly spicy and very savory sauce. After the chef handed me my steaming bowl of noodles, I added the recommended lashings of hot oil and vinegar (two squirts of each for Regular, three for Medium, and four for Large), then mixed everything together until it turned into the Elixir of the Gods.

This shop is just called Abura Soba (油そば)and it’s about a 2 minute walk from Hiroo Station on the Hibiya Line. From the wine store on the corner by the station, walk down the shopping street on the right hand side. It’s across from the pachinko parlor.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more