Friday, May 23, 2014

中華ソバ 櫻坂 Sakurazaka: up on poppy hill

It's been getting hot and the people of Tokyo have begun to wear summer clothing. But when the sun goes down, a chill sets in, and we must seek shelter in an inviting ramen inn for the night.

Disillusioned with my last bowl, I was craving a good bowl. After shopping in Shibuya, a quiet shop came across the radar on Sakuragaoka hill, a laid back and sleepy area of Shibuya. Hearts has been to Sakurazaka before, and remembered liking it.

There was no line, but customers flooded in once we were seated. A good sign.

I ordered the shoyu chukasoba...

Chukasoba (700yen)

...and Hearts ordered the shiosoba. Despite the names of these bowls, these are still ramen. "Chuka soba" is a classic way to refer to ramen, acknowledging the Chinese roots ("chuka" means Chinese), while also pairing it with the Japanese "soba" noodle to signify the local influence.

Shiosoba (700yen)

I definitely got the better bowl. The soup has good balance with both rich fish and pork taste. Seabura, or pork back fat, floats on the top of the soup, giving the bowl that extra something, but it's not greasy at all.

The noodles are of medium thickness, reasonably smooth and elastic. I devoured this bowl.

Hearts' bowl was supposedly a shio tori paitan, but it was just a syrupy chicken soup, the kind you could get at any cafeteria. Such a big difference in the quality of the bowls. Sakurazaka's shoyu chukasoba is definitely worth eating, and I can count it as one of the better bowls in Shibuya.

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Sakuragaoka-cho 17-10
Closest stn: Shibuya

Open from 1130am-11pm (until 9pm on Sundays)


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