October 01, 12 | Takako Chiba
Today's feature is a bowl of soba filled to the brim with a delicious thick curry sauce.
Back in the year 1954, a curry soba restaurant named "House of Fuji" opened up in Yubari, Hokkaido. Workers from the then bustling local coal mines were completely taken with the taste and news of the restaurant quickly spread by word of mouth. Soon customers from across Hokkaido were visiting the shop for a taste of the delicious curry. Visitors to the “Yubari Fantastic Film Festival” and the local ski slopes helped spread word of the taste throughout Japan and soon the line in front of the shop was endless. However, the shop owner's health declined and the store was forced to shut down.
Just when everyone thought they would never get another chance to enjoy the delicious flavor of the shop's soba curry, a volunteer stepped forward and offered to try to recreate the popular dish. That volunteer was the "Shikanotani 3-chome Cafeteria"
The two stand out features of this unique curry are its thick texture and spicy flavor. The bowl is filled to the brim with the thick sauce which fills in the gaps between the soba noodles until every inch is coated. When you slurp up a mouthful of soba noodles, the spicy flavor of the curry spreads across your tongue and mixes with the flavor of the bonito stock used in the soba preparation. The flavor combination is superb.
▲ The simple addition of onions and pork add to the overall flavor.
I was born in Yubari, so of course I had tasted the delicious "House of Fuji" curry soba. I was shocked when I first tasted the "Shikanotani" version of the dish. They had reproduced the flavor so well it was as if the name of the restaurant was the only thing that had changed.
When you finish eating the soba noodles there is a fair amount of curry left over in the bowl. The most common way of finishing the meal is to put rice into into the left over curry to soak it up, that way when you're done eating, no curry has gone to waste. But Mr. Adachi, a staff member, has an even better suggestion. "Be sure to order the meat curry set and, while eating the soba and curry, leave about half of the meat untouched. Eating this way also assures that an ample amount of curry sauce will be left in the bowl when the noodles are all gone. When you put the rice in at the end you'll have another full bowl of curry with delicious meat mixed in!"
▲ These pictures are of my curry soba set, but as you can see I'm already done with my soba. Getting two dishes in one sitting is quite a deal!
The dish may only be a simple soba curry recipe, but the taste is out of this world and you can only find it in Yubari. Be sure to go out for a bite the next time you're in the area!
Shikanotani 3-chome Cafeteria
Location: Yubari Yatai, Suehiro 1-Chome 81, Yubari-shi, Hokkaido
Hours of Operation: 11:00 - 4:00
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(All photographs courtesy of Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Megane.)