A Must Eat in Tokyo: Azabujuban’s 230 Year Old Edo-Era Soba Spot
Japan is famous for many kinds of noodles such as ramen and udon, but soba, or buckwheat noodles, are its most traditional. Conveniently located right across the street from THE LIVELY TOKYO AZABUJUBAN is the 230 year-old soba restaurant Sou Honke Sarashina Horii. This restaurant is arguably one of Tokyo’s most authentic soba restaurants with ample history and a delicious menu to back the claim.
Back in the Edo-era, a talented soba maker started out in the very same location by hand-cutting his soba and selling it to daimyo, wealthy residences and large temples. Sou Honke Sarashina Horii continues to serve the same hand-cut soba served just as it was back in the Edo-era, while also introducing new ways to enjoy soba in 2023.
1. Start out by trying Sarashina soba.
Souhonke Sarashina Horii’s most popular item is Sarashina soba. Buckwheat noodles are typically a brown color but at this restaurant they use only the heart of the buckwheat plant so the noodles are a distinctive white color. Souhonke Sarashina Horii’s soba has been considered “high-class” for this reason since the Edo-era– using only the core of the buckwheat plant not only creates an aesthetically pleasing looking dish, but also a superior taste and texture.
2. The Dashimaki Tamago Omelet is also a must try
This isn’t your typical omelet. Dashimaki Tamago is a must-order dish if you visit a soba specialty restaurant. Each restaurant uses their own special soba broth to cook the omelet, so the flavor varies by restaurant. It’s a great litmus test of how good a soba restaurant is. In most cases, the texture is lush and the flavor is perfectly savory with a tinge of sweet. Souhonke Sarashi Horii’s is of course, utterly delicious.
3. The fried Kakiage is also to die for
This dish not only looks delicious, it tastes incredible. Delicately batter fried with bits of shrimp and japanese parsley (or, mitsuba), kakiage is best enjoyed by being dipped into the delicious tsukedare (or special dipping sauce).
How to dine the old-school Edo way:
If you enjoy drinking, we recommend drinking nihonshu or sake and ordering otsumami (or Japanese appetizers) here as well! The custom of serving these small dishes began in the Edo-era as a way for the customer to stimulate their appetite while waiting for their soba (remember each serving of soba is hand cut to order, so it can take a little while to prepare!) Souhonke Sarashina Horii serves the finest sake paired with excellent otsumami so we recommend trying this old Edo-tradition when you visit! If you do, feel free to take your time and order sake and otsumami first and save your soba order for the very end.
How to enjoy soba:
1. First try it without any sauce, so you can appreciate the original flavor of the noodles.
2. Next, put the green onions and other toppings on top of the noodles (don’t put them in the sauce) and your desired amount of wasabi into the dipping sauce.
3. Take one mouthful worth of soba, dip half of it into the sauce, and slurp the noodles up all at once (like they do with ramen in the movies!) It’s totally ok to make noise when you slurp!
4. Once you’ve eaten all your soba, the staff will bring you soba-yu or the broth created from boiling the soba noodles. Pour this in your dipping sauce to enjoy a delicious warm soup at the end of your meal.
These aren’t rules, but just suggestions! Enjoy your soba the way you like best.
Souhonke Sarashina Horii Azabujuban Honten
Address: 106-0046 Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Motoazabu 3-11-4
Open Weekdays 11:30～15:30(Last order 15:00) / 17:00〜20:30 (Last order 20:00)
Open Weekends and Holidays: 11:00～20:30 (Last order 20:00)
This shop may be closed even during the times listed as open above, be sure to call or ask one of our staff to call before going.