Matsugen Soba – Ebisu, Tokyo

This is Part 9 of our Tokyo Trip Series (Click here to read all Tokyo food posts).

To be honest I am not really a huge fan of soba noodles, the thin buckwheat noodles are often bland and pretty much taste the same everywhere, but in this Japan trip I wanted to try the handmade soba noodles from the original country, I wonder if it’s going to change my mind about soba.

So as always I did some google searching and found Jen’s blog called Tiny Urban Kitchen. I really loved her Tokyo posts as it gives a very detail description of the food there, also her photos are gorgeous. I think I might’ve spent hours just reading all her Tokyo posts one by one. For anyone who’s going to have a culinary adventure in Tokyo, I suggest you read her blog too rightaway.

MatsugenIn her posts, Jen recommended two soba restaurants in Tokyo, Matsugen and Kaoriya, both of them are famous for their handmade soba noodles and both are located in Ebisu area just within walking distance from my accommodation. At the end I chose Kaoriya because of the thicker cut of noodles, which I prefer, but I kept Matsugen soba on my list too.

Unfortunately on the day that we are about to go to Kaoriya, the restaurant was closed due to annual summer holiday. So disappointed, but then fortunately we had a backup plan, Matsugen Soba.

We went there at around 11.30am so the restaurant has just opened, and we were the first ones in. The interior of the restaurant was quite modern with dim lights, with only a few tables.

Matsugen SobaWe ordered Matsugen Soba just because it has the name of the restaurant on the dish so this must be their signature dish. We also ordered the soba that Jen raved about, Inaka Soba. Both of them are served cold.

So here’s Matsugen Soba, soba noodles topped with variety of vegetables and wasabi. I loved the presentation of this dish, the colour just reminds me of Korean Bibimbap.

Matsugen SobaThe server told us to pour the sauce into the vegetables and then we can mix everything in the bowl. I must say the texture of the soba noodles is much better than the all the soba noodles that I have tried before. It was nice and refreshing. The flavour is mild but has a kick to it because of the wasabi.

Raymond got his Inaka Soba just after I received my Matsugen Soba.

Matsugen SobaSoba noodles were absolutely the star in this dish. We adored the texture so much, the noodles were thicker and chewier, and they are served simply with sesame dipping sauce.

Both of us didn’t like soba noodles at first, but we could finish both of them in a couple of minutes.

Matsugen SobaI begin to understand why I didn’t really like soba before because I have always compared it to ramen. Soba is so different to ramen. Ramen is flavourful and people seek the flavour of the broth whenever they have ramen. But for soba, the noodle texture is everything. The flavour is often mild, that’s why most people like me, aren’t really into it.

However for the true soba fans, what they seek is the nice texture of the noodles that pair well with mild flavour of the broth. I still prefer ramen to this day, but a good handmade soba noodles from Matsugen slightly swifted my perception as I now know how to devour the taste of soba noodles.

Rating: 7.5/10
Location: 1F Hagiwara Building 1, 1-3 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
Nearest Station: Ebisu

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  1. Juventia Wu says

    I should be thanking you Jen for your useful blogpost! :) I agree I am just back for 1 month but I am now searching for cheap ticket to go again next year. It was such a lovely country.

  2. says

    You are so right about the difference of ramen and soba, hadn’t thought of it that way before. Scrummy photos!!!

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