Yakisoba bread is pretty common at Japanese bakeries, but this is the first time we’ve ever heard of bread soba.
It’s been about a year since certain soba restaurants in Japan started thinking way outside the box by adding French fries to the low-key noodle dish. As weird as the idea sounds, more than a few diners reported that the two ordinarily separate but equally delicious foodstuffs made for a tasty combination, which serves as a testament to just how versatile soba is.
Japan is always trying to advance its culinary frontier, though, and as a country with an almost limitless love of carbs, perhaps it was only a matter of time until someone decided to plunk a slice of bread into the bowl of broth alongside the soba noodles. But since most soba restaurants don’t have much experience breaking bread, soba chain Hakone Soba is teaming up with bakery Hokuo to produce its newest menu item.
It’s called the Mentai Cheese France Ten Soba, and it’s not like the chefs just grabbed a piece of sandwich bread and called it a day. The special ingredient starts with a slice of Hokuo’s tasty French bread, onto which mentaiko (spicy cod roe) is spread. Cheese is slathered on top of that, and the backside gets coated in tempura batter and fried, before the whole thing is added to a bowl of soba with diced onions and wakame seaweed.
Most of Hakone Soba’s branches are located in or around train stations, and this carb-centric new offering should make for a quick and filling meal for travelers and commuters who desire something a little different in their mid-journey meal. And it’s not like Hakone Soba is the only one benefiting from this tie-up. Since the soba chain is loved for its croquette soba, it’s contributing its know-how to help with Hokuo’s new Hakone Soba Croquette Bread, which is a bun stuffed with noodles and a curry-flavored potato croquette.
Both items go on sale at their respective locations on March 17, and will be available until the 27th. The Hakone Soba Croquette Bread is priced at 230 yen (US$2.10), while the Mentai Cheese France Ten Soba will cost you 390 yen at almost all Hakone Soba branches. For some reason, the price gets bumped up to 450 yen for branches inside Shinjuku Station, Japan’s busiest rail hub, but if you’ve got a hankering for some French bread soba, it’s not like you can really get it anywhere else.