Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pay Dirt

Anyone who's been reading the blog knows my two weaknesses are dumplings and noodles. I am in Tokyo for work and I've been denied a good ramen experience on my previous trips to this wonderful city. So today at lunch, I found myself without a formal engagement and went searching. Hard to believe, but I had trouble finding a good, basic, cheap but good ramen place near our hotel We are staying in a nicer part of town, and I guess that precludes the noodle dives I have been seeking.

So getting a little cranky for the lack of success, we hit upon a good looking alley way with a bunch of small joints. None were for ramen (as best we can tell, I don't read Japanese or Hiragane) but found a placard with photos of the other worthy noodle in this country - Udon.

Down the stairs to B1 we went and were thrilled to see a starkly lit, linoleum floored bare bones Udon place run by Mom and Pop. Tons of photos, not one word of english. I was in heaven. After scoping out the wall o photos, i tried to order the Tempura udon - bu they were out (the woman tried to explain and eventually said tempura and formed an X with her arms). We then pointed to a basic Upon set with a side of rice filled sweet tofu skins called Abrage (the kind you normally find in Kitsune/Fox Udon).

IT WAS AWESOME. Great, nicely salty broth and the noodles were the perfect consistency. Nice a light, soft with a little texture towards the center. Slice of fish cake, some veggies, green onion, etc. Just perfect. Total cost for 2 people - about 15 bucks.

I have not given up on the ramen, but if I don't get it this time I'll be happy with my little Udon meal.