Sobakura: A Hakodate Noodle Shop to Be Savored
Sobakura, a small noodle shop at the base of Mount Hakodate, overlooks the town’s scenic port. Years ago, Kobayashi Atsuhiko, the shop’s owner, worked for a firm that sent him for a stint at a branch office in the Aizu area of western Fukushima Prefecture. While there, he developed a taste for the local jūwari soba, noodles made solely with buckwheat flour. Kobayashi now uses the same delicate Aizu flour at Sobakura; his wife, a former teacher at a culinary school, learned from an older woman in the neighborhood how to work the finicky powder by hand into noodles.
Kobayashi set up Sobakura in his family’s home, a noble structure that has stood on the spot since 1895. The rooms of the house-cum-noodle-shop are decorated with family heirlooms, including folding screens depicting the different animals of the zodiac painted by Kobayashi’s great-grandfather.
I order kamoseiro—noodles served on a bamboo mat with a rich dipping sauce containing duck meat and sliced leeks. The dish is scrumptious to look at, but capturing the mouth-watering allure of the soba in black and white is far from “duck soup.” The more I fiddle, trying to get the perfect shot, the dryer the noodles become. Finally, I set down my camera and commence to eat, drowning the noodles in the rich broth and slurping down the lot. After my third visit to the restaurant, I am content I have the perfect shot. I laid out more on the endeavor than I had expected—Kobayashi did not seem to mind—but for such wonderful food and atmosphere, this was yen well spent.
Access: Five minutes from the Hakodate-dokku-mae stop on the Hakodate City Tram.