Aki Jitan (A great noodle bar in Tokyo, A Tasteem Review)

in tasteem •  last month

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This last week saw me on tour in Japan, where there is an abundance of great food for great prices. If you ask anyone what food they associate with Japan, you are pretty much guaranteed to have them nominate sushi, and outside of Japan, sushi bars and sushi trains are all the fad with the cool kids.

However, the real gem of Japanese food has got to be ramen and udon noodles in soup (mostly miso soup). With a variety of toppings and served both hot and cold, it is the perfect lunch (or dinner) food for all seasons!

Just around the corner from Triphony Hall in Tokyo, a friend and colleague knew of this great noodle bar that had been recommended to her by a local musician. So, we set out to find it during the break between rehearsal and concert!

In the end, it was pretty easy to find, if you knew exactly where to go (we had pretty detailed instructions)… but as you can see, the store front was pretty small, and if you didn’t know exactly what it was you would easily walk past it. If you even were walking down this very out of the way side alley!

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NOTE: I had a friend translate the name and address of the restaurant, as I can’t read Japanese. Originally, I had sent her the photo above, thinking that it was the name of the restaurant, but in fact… it just says noodles!

The Space

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As you can see from the photo above, the space is pretty spartan, but newly renovated. Apart from the bar area in front of the cooking station, there is only a handful of tables. So, get in early before the rush of people for lunch or dinner! The space was also air-conditioned, which in theory was great as it was really hot and humid outside, but in practice, it only served to balance out the heat and humidity coming form the cooking station!

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A well-stocked fridge with giant bottles of sake and a nice selection of beers (both European and Japanese) was incredibly tempting. However, given that we all due to be on stage in an hour combined with the fact that all of us were jet-lagged and exhausted due to a punishing tour schedule led to all of us passing on the sweet, sweet alcoholic goodness! Perhaps a different time…

The Menu

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This noodle bar is completely off the tourist track, and so English menus and writing is completely missing here! This is where I was glad that there always seem to be pictures (or plastic models) of the food that they serve. In this case, there was a stylised cartoonish drawings of the food on a large sign outside the restaurant. The top half of the menu is for cold soups, and the bottom half was for hot soups. All of them had various toppings, which you can mostly guess at from the pictures.

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After you have made your choice, you step into the noodle bar, where you are greeted by this machine to order your food. Remember the price of your desired dish, as it is going to be the only way that you can figure out which button to press (unless you can read Japanese)! Red for hot soups, and Blue for cold soups! The row on the bottom is for side dishes… or in my case, a lottery for a surprise dish/drink of some sort!
Insert money, make your order, receive a ticket and take it to the cooking counter! Efficient!

The Food

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I ordered Udon noodles in Miso Soup, with duck and fish cakes and various other toppings. On the menu photo, it is the hot soup on the bottom right (price 1080 Yen). If you’ve followed my blog, there are two meats that I can not resist, duck and lamb… and there was no lamb option!

As you can see, it was a simple dish. However, these meals live and die by the quality of both the noodle and the soup, and I am happy to say that the quality of both was excellent. The noodles had a nice chewy texture, and the soup was perfect (not too salty, which can sometimes be a problem!). Noodlely heaven!
Service was fast and efficient, waiting time was about around 5-10 minutes after delivering the ticket for the order.

Conclusion

Aki Jitan was only about a hundred metres away from the artists entrance of the Triphony Hall, and so it was just perfect for the limited time that we had between the rehearsal and concert. Fast, great food and inexpensive, everything that a starving and jet-lagged musician wants for their meal!

The meal was just the right portion size, not too heavy but enough to be satisfying without overeating. However, I could imagine that others might be left wanting a bit more. In that case, definitely try out some of the side dishes… or get another bowl with different toppings!

If you are in Tokyo, and in this area, definitely, you have to try this place. It is well worth the effort of trying to locate it!

Contact Details

Address: 130-0013 Tokyo, Sumida, Kinshi, 1 Chome-10-17
Phone 03-6256-1556 (?)


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Restaurant Information


Aki Jitan
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1 Chome-10-17 Kinshi, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0013, Japan


Aki Jitan (A great noodle bar in Tokyo, A Tasteem Review)
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Awesome experience and great tip "Remember the price of your desired dish" ha ha this could be useful in so many places.

Keep Tasteeming!

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Thank you for the selection! Yes... sometimes, the price is the only way to figure out what you've ordered... although, I have less problems with alphabet based languages, the symbolic ones are a complete mystery to me!

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Yesss this is on my bucket list! I’ve never had a proper bowl of ramen. I would probably throw out vegetarianism while in Japan. Can you read Japanese or is it manageable without being able to read it?

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i'm also curious about how ppl travel in japan without speaking the language

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People can often also speak or understand English... and a good deal of signs for public transport and all of that, in the big cities. On the other hand, I was with an orchestra group, so everything was generally taken care of for us. However, on the free day, I was able to travel around by myself in Tokyo without too much trouble, but I didn't stray too far off the well known areas...

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Nope, can't read Japanese... but there are generally a lot of signs in English (for the public transport)! Also, most people also speak English to some extent (in the the large cities), so it is possible to ask for help! Also, Google...

There were Vegetarian options for the noodles as well!

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This makes me very happy and the goal of visiting Japan much more achievable :D

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Just try to avoid a week like we had... Typhoon and a big earthquake! Although, I guess that little earthquakes are unavoidable?

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Oh wow, yes those are unavoidable. The typhoon didn’t last the whole time did it, talk about a dampener. You’ll have to go back and find more ramen places to make up for it ;)

Such an interesting place with the machine for ordering, but I must say the food looks real good

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The food was seriously good! The machine was a little intimidating... but it is pretty efficient I guess, reduces the need for someone to man the till!

This place looks amazing. I would love visiting an authentic noodle bar. My local Japanese place has a buld your own noodle bowl option, but I'm sure it doesn't come close to this place!

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I don't know, it could be similar... but when you taste the real thing! It is something else... I did get some hints on how to improve my own versions though...

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awesome....that sounds like some material for a future post...hint hint, I'd like some of the tips as well...lol

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Miso... I think that this is the bit that has to be right from the start. The quality and type of Miso. I've been using Miso that has been too far fermented (dark coloured), and it makes the soup base too salty. I should have been using the lighter, less fermented stuff apparently! So, that is a beginning. Also, finding good noodles (Udon or Ramen) is a must. I think in the USA, there is an importer or manufacturer that is quite good, but I can't remember the name, I think they are based in Hawaii?

Here in Europe, it is pretty slim pickings... Although there are huge communities of Japanese in Paris and one of the German cities... IT might be worth it to take a short trip to stock up on the good stuff!

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We have an asian market about 10 minutes from my house. I go get fresh ingredients for homemade sushi from there. I never thought about getting stuff to make my own noodle bowls! I feel a trip in the really near future!

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Don't know if you already know of this website, but I refer to it quite a bit!

https://www.justonecookbook.com

Nais nais Mr @bengy
If I ever manage to get myself to Japan I will look for the noodle bars :)

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Noodle bars are the thing! Sushi is also nice, but more as a side... Noodles and the various cooked foods! And the lunch boxes for the trains!

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Haha..just made me hungry...@bengy my bro what a fantastic revi👌

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Heh! Social media and food! Japanese noodles are the best!

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Hahah...when it comes to noodles....tje only name that comes out is Japan 👌 enjoy the best

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I often cook at home with Udon noodles... I have yet to find a decent Ramen in The Netherlands to cook with... and I'm not game enough to try and make my own!

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That looks very cool @bengy

Japan is definitely on my list of places to go. One day........maybe!

The food looks great and the quirky system looks fun too. How hard is it to get around Japan with little or no native language ability?

My friend used to run a ramen noodle place in Bristol and it was awesome. I could get a decent selection in Thailand when I lived there too.

Great job. Gaz

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Ramen and Udon noodles are the best! I really have to learn how to make the soup base a bit better... but I got some hints from some of the people here... different type of Miso that I should try to start with!

Most of the people could speak or at least understand English, and in general were really friendly and happy to help! Public transport signs are often in English and there are always lots of people whose work function seems to be helping the lost. I didn't get too far off the main areas, and so I'm not sure how it is in the rural or smaller areas... but definitely in the large cities, it is no problem!

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Cool. I guess things are changing there like most places. If you go back 20 yeas in France you wouldn't find many people using English and now, especially the younger generation, they regularly speak it.

I have some friends/colleagues from a previous school that worked in Hiroshima. They had lots of stories from their time there. Partly why I'm fascinated with Japan now.

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It also really depends on where in the country. Most of the larger cities are better with English, but the smaller areas and rural places tend to still be difficult to communicate, even in Europe!

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You're right. Even in Romania. In Bucharest the English level is very good, the moment you leave the city it stops drastically.

Sounds intriguing both food, way of presenting menu and life in the city @bengy

Good luck with your musical tour.

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Thanks! Made it back to Europe... where we will continue onwards again!

These big fat noodles are called Udon= うどん Looks great!

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Ah yes... I don't know why I called it ramen! Thanks for pointing that out!

I just got a japanese roomate in my dorm so i'm learning a bit on japanese culture. The best thing to start talking is always food =)

I also realize that most of the japanese food have soy sauce as their base too, like your udon noodles!

How do you find your way around japan? I can't read or speak japanese so...could you give me a hint?

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Miso seems to also be the base for a lot of things! Japanese food is really the best! I love the lunch boxes that you can buy at the train stations for your train journey! Lots of nice little goodies to choose from!

I found that many of the people could speak or at least understand English, and they were really quite helpful... also, most of the signs for public transport are also in English. I was mainly in the big cities, and so I don't know how it is in the rural or smaller areas!

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thanks a lot!