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Tasty noodle topping an old family secret

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A regular size serving of jajamen noodles at Shokudou Beone in Sendai

By Miho Naganuma / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterSENDAI — A variety of set meals are on the menu at Shokudou Beone, including ones with karaage deep-fried chicken pieces or gyoza dumplings.

“But most customers order jajamen noodles,” owner Teruyuki Suzuki said. Jajamen is a noodle dish where chewy, flat noodles are served topped by a miso paste mixed with meat and black sesame. It’s a cherished soul food for people in Morioka.

Shokudou Beone has been serving the noodles since its opening in 1987. Suzuki’s father, who was from Iwate Prefecture, started the restaurant after quitting his job at a company.

As jajamen initially was not very familiar in Sendai, some people even said, “This isn’t food.” But the dish gradually gained popularity after earning a good reputation among university students who came from Morioka.

In 2006, Suzuki, who had trained at an Italian restaurant in Sendai and a hotel in Okinawa Prefecture, inherited the restaurant and the secret recipe of the paste for the noodle topping made using Sendai miso.

The most popular item at Shokudou Beone is the regular size serving of jajamen. When an order is placed, Suzuki boils the restaurant’s distinctive noodles — bought from a noodle factory in Morioka — for about 15 minutes. After draining, the noodles are served topped with the miso paste, julienned cucumber and grated ginger.

Suzuki taught me in detail how to enjoy the noodles.

“Thoroughly mix the noodles with the paste. Then add vinegar, chilli oil or ginger to your liking. Try to find your own favorite flavor,” he said.

You can continue enjoying the dish even after finishing the noodles by ordering “chitantan.” After adding a raw egg to the remaining miso, you can ask Suzuki to pour some of the water used to boil the noodles to the dish. The result: a special soup blending the egg’s mild flavor and the sesame’s savory smell. It is addictive.

A 45-year-old man hailing from Morioka said he comes to Shokudou Beone whenever he visits Sendai. “I fell in love with the noodles’ texture, which is different from udon,” he said.

Suzuki rebuilt the restaurant after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. “I’m going to run this place as long as I have regular customers,” Suzuki said.

 

Shokudou Beone

Open: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Closed: Tuesdays

Address: 1-7-2 Nagamachi, Taihaku Ward, Sendai

Phone: (022) 247-3403

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&d

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