There are so many Japanese soba restaurants in Japan, even in Yokohama. You may have found your favorite or perhaps you are still trying to find one. But in any case, I’d like you to taste soba at a soba restaurant in Yokohama called “Kadohei”. This is a special soba restaurant. What’s special about it? Good question! The answer is its long history, special guests, and great food.
This restaurant opened in 1950. There might be a lot of other soba restaurants with long histories, too. But it is said that the former Prime Minister Shinsuke Kishi, the first vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party Banboku Ohno and the former Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu also often ate here. You can see their photos and best wishes written in calligraphy inside the restaurant.
But this is not the reason I love and recommend Kadohei. I once lived near this restaurant in a place called Hiranuma. It is a convenient area; about a 5-8 minute walk from Yokohama Station. It is a little noisy but the atmosphere of old downtown Yokohama still remains. Kadohei is situated on the corner of the big intersection and kado means corner in Japanese, so this is where the name came from. To be honest, the appearance of the restaurant is small, old and dilapidated now. But somehow it drew my attention back then because of the good smell the restaurant threw off, stately appearance it showed, and there were always lots of customers coming and going.
When you step into Kadohei, you are comfortable with the lively and welcoming atmosphere. The staff is always bustling about and make a good impression. They take orders and serve the food in a timely manner, and I found even with a lot of customers, the cooks and waiters handle it all very well.
When you sit down at your table, you may be aware that most people are eating the same dish: cold soba with hot soup and shrimp tempura dipped in it.
The cold soba and hot soup are served separately and inside the soup you’ll find a big piece of shrimp tempura. This is the restaurant’s original menu called “Tsuke-ten” (meaning tempura in soup). This is the dish I recommended most.
But don’t worry if you don’t like shrimp. I don’t either. You also find a variety of other items on the menu such as crispy fried kakiage (Japanese fritters with chopped veggies and small pieces of shrimps), vegetable tempura (my favorite!), and you can even choose wheat noodles instead of soba (buckwheat noodles) or a bowl or rice.
The secret of the crispy tempura is that they are deep-fried in sesame oil. The soba noodles shine and have body. You can eat a lot fairly easily.
It may sound like an exaggeration to you (but it’s true!): when I moved away from Hiranuma to my present place, I missed Kadohei very much! Now I have found that I didn’t need to fear, because I sometimes come back here. This is a taste I cannot forget and is worth taking a half hour drive for. This is Kadohei.