Soba no Kanda, Standing Soba Shops

Delicious, quick, cheap fast food with a long history

By Akemi Miura    - 3 min read

The service is fast and you can eat it within minutes after handing a meal ticket (食券 shokken) to the staff. They open very early in the morning for busy people. Speed and cheapness are not the only hallmarks of the standing soba shop- flavor is the epitome of Japanese fast food. Standing soba shops can be found all over this nation, especially around the train stations or on the platforms. Soba is a grain and made its debut as a noodle in the Edo period(1603-1868). Also soba is a key topic in Japanese comic storytelling, and you might watch the performance of a scene of comedians eating soba by using their fans as chopsticks, and making noise by slurping noodles.

Offeriing a quick, tasty, and inexpensive food, the standing soba shop survived from the samurai period to contemporary times. Almost all standing soba shops are cramped and stark in atomosphere, but regulars don't expect comfortable and elegant interiors. What they want is speedy, inexpensive, simple food. Modern regulars of these shops may find minimum service normal, for example, shops are self-service from start to finish.

Soup and noodles (かけそば kakesoba) is one of the popular dishes at standing soba shops. It costs just under 300 yen. You can buy a few addional toppings such as deep-fried vegitables (かき揚げ kakiage), an egg, seaweed, and so on, which won't cost over 200yen.

Soba no KANDA(そばの神田)is my favorite. standing noddle place. There are 5 shops within conveniently located in central Sendai. Two shops are near Sendai Station. They specially use Makurazaki dried bonito to make delicate and tasty soup stock (和風だし Japanese dashi). You can taste an authentic Japanese soba soup, no additive-free soup stock, for less than 300 yen. Deep-fried tempura batter (揚げ玉 agedama) and is on tables to be used freely. There is also hot soba water for enjoying the remaining dipping sauce of soba noodles in a basket (ざるそばzaru soba). If you go there by 11:00, you can eat soup and noodles with a medium-boiled egg, spinach, and seaweed (wakame) at a discount price as a morning service.

First of all, buy a meal ticket from a vending machine which is set near the entrance, and hand it to a staff member at the counter. You will be asked, "Soba or udon?". A few minutes later, the staff says, "Soba is ready," Then you come to the counter and carry it by yourself. After finishing, you are surposed to take the used dishes to a designated place.

Toichi Ekimae (東一駅前店 せんだいえきまえてん) shop which is located across the Sakurano department store, offers seats and it is hardly visible from the outside. That means that you can slurp your noodles in privacy. There is always another option to have udon, Japanese noodle made of flour, in standing soba shops.

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Akemi Miura

Akemi Miura @akemi.miura

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Relinda Puspita 4 years ago
Mhm... I should try one.
Justin Velgus 4 years ago
I have been here a few times. They are nice shops to stop by for a healthier fastfood option.