November 23, 12 | Fumiko Magota
Bibai’s soul food, Kadoya Yakisoba, was born in the heart of Ishikari in 1965. (Yakisoba is fried (yaki) - 'soba' (noodles)). This yakisoba is a twist on the traditional Japanese yakisoba. The original concept for the Kadoya yakisoba was to give coal miners an easy-to-eat afternoon snack that didn’t require chopsticks or clean hands; it could be eaten as is – out of a bag. The shops founder, a coal miner himself, created and continued making the noodles with this concept in mind. In the blink of an eye the snack gained popularity as a quick lunch or even a snack for kids. Anyone born in Bibai in the past 50 years is sure to have tried this snack.
At one point in time, the “Red Pack” was taken out of production but due to popular demand from the locals, the product was brought back in 2005. Meanwhile, the shop developed new flavors to add to the Kadoya label. One such flavor is a blackened salt-grilled yakisoba, made with bamboo charcoal.
The reason the noodles have maintained their popularity “would probably be that even as the times have changed, we’ve stuck to the original recipe,” said manager and Kadoya owner Kazumi Takahashi. “The thickness of the noodles is well balanced with the amount of oil, I think.”
▲Third generation Takahashi shop owner, Mr. Kazumi Takahashi.
The Kadoya production method is very simple: boil the homemade noodles in a large pot, add seasoning and then package the noodles. Everything is done by hand.
It’s remarkable how much thought goes into making this snack easy to eat.
Mr. Takahashi calls himself very picky about the presentation of the ginger and paper at the top of the package, but perhaps even more so when it comes to making sure the package opens nicely. It seems he’s even done research on the amount of glue necessary for each bag.
The package is easy to open, and you wont get your face dirty trying to eat the pack of noodles. What’s more is that the ginger is easily placed on the bundle of noodles and if you just rub the noodles together a little they come apart so easily.
This snack really is easy to eat.
That sentiment seems to channel the feeling of the founding coal miner.
Now I can show you how you eat Kadoya yakisoba.
① Pull the pack of ginger up and off.
② Now pull the paper off, and open the plastic seal on both the ginger and noodles.
③ Lightly rub the noodles together a little, readying the yakisoba for the ginger.
And dig in!
▲ Yum! So delicious! It’s also great if you heat it up in a fry pan.
The flavor is slightly sweet, without any heavy, greasy taste. But it’s so big that just one will fill you up! The packages will keep for a little while too, so it’d surely make a great souvenir to bring back.
This yakisoba is one of a kind, made with the love of its founder. If you get the chance, you should certainly give it a try!
Address : Bibai, West 2 North 1, 1-chome, 2-3
Telephone : 0126-62-7321
Website : http://角屋.com/
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Fukko)
(Photography by Isao Kawamura)