We find the Italian Soba at the fish market in Aomori, which claims to be perfect for the beach


Italian-style Japanese? Or maybe Japanese-style Italian? We just couldn’t decide.

Our Japanese-language reporter, Mr. Sato, recently traveled to the northern city of Hachinohe in Aomori, which he the prefecture with the most soba restaurants in all of Japan. With locally produced brands such as Hashikami Wase soba and plenty of local dishes that use noodles, soba has long been considered a prefectural food, which explains why it is such a popular menu item.

Of course, Mr. Sato, one of our resident foodies, made sure he ate some soba while in Aomori. Actually while sightseeing Tatehan Harbouraccidentally found a very unexpected soba dish: Italian Soba! Japanese buckwheat noodles with Italian flavors… would that even be good?

Italian Soba (and Udon) was offered in a fish shop near the port of Tatehana so-called Hama no Supermarket Gyoko Shop (“Beach Supermarket Harbor Store”) but although it calls itself a supermarket, this place mainly sells soba and udon avoid, or culinary souvenirs.

They also have a small kitchen that sells soba and udon dishesand there Mr. Sato found the Italian Soba hidden among 26 other types of soba and udon dishes.

The menu had a few oddities. For example, the photo “Soba/Udon for Kids” showed an American flag stuck in an egg, which was mysterious, and the 27th item was just a clip art with the words “Searching for a New Dish”.

The most popular dish was dish number 10, vegetable tempura soba/udon, which in its simplicity looked as delicious as everything else on the menu. However, what caught Mr. Sato’s attention was definitely number 6: Italian (style) Soba/Udon. This menu item not only had nice bright red, white and green text on a green field, but it was aggressively advertised on a separate poster outside the store.

▼ “(Tomato and Garlic) Italian (Style) Soba/Udon for the beach. Perfect for the beach! Healthy. (Italian Soba.) Limited availability. 600 yen (US$4.25).”

Three times it was “Perfect for the beach!” written, in three different sizes and three different colors – so they obviously really wanted to get to the heart of the matter. And if the giant Italian flag in the background wasn’t enough to tell you that this soba is Italian inspired, the red, green and white letters and little Italian flags carried by little green and red figures should alert you.

Anyway, Mr. Sato didn’t hesitate to order the soba version, although he wasn’t sure what to expect. it came a tray lined with a cloth decorated with tomatoes! How sweet.

He looked much more Italian than Mr. Sato expected spoonful of very rich-looking tomato sauce landed at the top.

They even added some of what Mr. Sato thought was genovese sauce, which made it quite a serious attempt at Italian food in the eyes of Mr. Sato. Mr. Sato imagined it would be more of a pasta dish with lots of sauce and cheese, but it certainly had a much more simplistic Italian feel to it. But would this tomato sauce actually go well with soba?

It was under the noodles broth that looked very similar to the same kind of tsuyu broth you will get with the usual japanese style soba dishes. This made the dish even more puzzling. It was neither a Japanese-style Italian dish nor an Italian-style Japanese dish, but somehow managed to combine the two dishes into something completely new.

Mr. Sato mixed it well and took a bite. “Oh It’s good! Simple but good… No, it’s really good!”

Just as the dish seemed unable to decide what it wanted to be, nor Mr. Sato could decide how delicious it was. Tomatoes and soba weren’t really weird together, and Mr. Sato quickly got used to the combination of tsuyu broth with tomatoes. Gradually, the strange dish turned into a really tasty one.

He had heard before that Italian food and Japanese food do indeed have affinity and that you could swap ingredients here and there to make any dish a tasty fusion dish, but he never expected it to taste so good. It was like the ramen noodles our other reporter discovered in Croatia. Either way, the sourness of the tomatoes added a nice freshness to the dish it would be really nice to cool off in the hot summer.

Ah… that’s why they suggested it was “Perfect for the beach!”

If you find yourself in Hachinohe, be sure to check out the Hama no Supermarket Gyoko Store. And don’t forget to check out one more of Aomori’s claim to fame: crackers!

Store/restaurant information
Hama no Super Gyoko Shop / 浜のスーパー 漁港ストア
Aomori-ken Hachinohe-shi Shinminato 3-4-20
Opening hours: weekdays: from 11:00 to 14:00, weekends/holidays: from 10:00 to 15:00. The morning market is open from 7:00 to 15:00
Open daily

Pictures © SoraNews24
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