Kitahiroshima: Soba Tengoku

So a friend came to visit me yesterday. She lives in Sapporo, but she often comes for lunch with me in my town when we both have some time off. Unfortunately, the restaurant we always go to was closed. We went to a different shop instead, all the while lamenting the few dining options we have in Kitahiroshima.

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But it all ended up happily. We went to Soba Tengoku, one of the best restaurants in town. I love soba, so I was very happy we chose this place. She’s normally a ramen person, but luckily, our minds were on the same page that day.

Soba Tengoku (Soba Heaven) has been in operation for 48 years, which means that they’re always very popular with the locals. On Sundays, for lunch, they are always crowded. The small parking lot often overflows, and you’ll have people parked on the side streets.

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The little shrine next to the parking lot.

The soba or buckwheat noodles itself is very delicious. They are thin and colored green by chlorella, which is a kind of superfood made from algae.  It doesn’t really taste any different from other soba noodles I’ve eaten. It’s just the color that is different. Most soba noodles are brown. Soba Tengoku’s is a special green.

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Normally, I get cold noodles, pictured above. This is my favorite set, which comes with three shrimp tempura along with other vegetables. This set is pretty expensive, at ¥1900, but it’s a favorite because it is so delicious!

But on this particular day, I chose to eat some hot ones, instead. I was feeling a little bit chilly because the weather was cold, and I think I am coming down with something. I don’t usually order soba in the hot soup because I just think that the noodles get really soggy easily. I figured I’d give the hot broth a try.

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I was so wrong about the soggy noodles. The he noodles remained chewy throughout our meal. The broth was soy based, not too salty and it had a little bit of a roasted flavor to it. I chose the set that came with two shrimp tempura on the side–I couldn’t resist. The only I didn’t want to have was lose the crispiness of the tempura if it soaked in the broth.

My friend didn’t mind that, so she chose the kashiwa set with the shrimp tempura and some extra chicken slices in the broth.

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She really liked hers; I loved mine.

Both sets were about ¥900 and we were both full and warmed by the meal.

We ate quickly because the place was filling up. Again, most places in town close on Mondays, but this restaurant was the few that were open. Most of the customers who came in that day worked in the surrounding areas. You could see them still wearing their uniforms to lunch.

It’s a bit far for a lunch date, but I just wanted to introduce this gem of a place to other people. If you get the chance to come to Soba Tengoku you should try their excellent noodles and interesting side dishes. You can even eat chlorella ice cream 🙂

 

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