I realise that punching out posts from my recent trip to Japan will very probably unleash a rabid desire for Asian food, seeing as how I’m stuck with European food here in Switzerland, St Gallen, for a summer study. This is a bad idea, surely. Cheese, bread, and yoghurt? I love you all very much, I promise that I do. It’s just that you aren’t the same as sushi and – oh how I swoon – a piping hot bowl of kishimen noodles whipped up à la minute in a tiny stall at the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya.
It’s not quite as cold here as it was back in December in Nagoya, but I’d give anything to have this gurgling happily in the recesses of my stomach right now.
This is, by all accounts, a highly affordable bowl of noodles. It starts from ¥600 to ¥850, which is about S$9.60 to S$13.00. This one above is the kakiage one.
Kishimen is a flat type of udon, typical of the Nagoya region. The consistency of these flat noodles are mind-boggling and truly exceptional – bouncy, with a slight chew, and simply cannot be eaten without slurping. Of course, the broth itself was faultless, which was hardly surprising really.
The stall was a little hard to find at first. We were pressed for time, famished, and chilled to the bone from the cold. It’s hard to give directions now, but trust me when I say that you’ll eventually stumble across it. It’s an open-air area, with benches and tables, and the stall behind. The noodles are exceedingly popular among the locals as well it seems, but though they crowd the tables, they leave pretty quickly.
Tempura version was wonderful as well, and … sigh … oh I am beside myself right now.
I probably should stop gushing and get on moving with the rest of the posts, because hammering out a post at night when there’s barely anything in the fridge (save for a lonely slice of cheese, some eggs, and shriveled zucchini, mostly), is excruciating. And if the past week was any indication, the posts on breads and cheeses will help themselves onto the pile of drafts that I already have.
If you are in Nagoya, please, you must go out of your way to the Atsuta Shrine. I’m not sure if it was because of the soothing reprieve from the bitter cold that a bowl offers, or just that the noodles and soup were utterly simple yet done exceptionally well, but whatever it is, you’ll know when you eventually try it. It’s so comforting you could cry.
Atsuta Shrine, Nagoya
Nearest train station: Jingu-mae