In too deep dipping

6 04 2011

Healthy Ten Zukuri Tofu at Shimbashi Soba at Paragon

RELATIONSHIPS I may not know.  But noodles?  Noodles…  I know!

And if with prospective relationships my knee-jerk reaction would be to clam up and run away from thoughts of commitment buzzing like neon above my head, with noodles I would plunge myself to a free-fall with eager submission to the pull of gravity.

Which was exactly the kind of force that drew me in to Shimbashi Soba # B1-41 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, Singapore, yet another one of Friendship’s recommendations.  Though I find it funny now, looking back at how my “free-fall with eager submission” actually meant getting lost on Orchard Road, under the heat of the midday sun, my composure and resolve put under the mercy of my Ralph Lauren Big Pony Scent #4, as Friendship gave me directions over the phone.  She mentioned Tod’s as a landmark.  A fashion label – now that’ll turn around my seeming lack of a sense of direction.

Though it’s just one in many dining establishments at the basement of a posh mall, Shimbashi Soba, like how Japanese restaurants usually are, seemed to shield its quaint Zen interiors from the hustle and bustle of all the retail action that happens outside its premises.  I felt engulfed in a sense of calm, only the beads of perspiration running down my temples belied the inner peace that seeing buckwheat noodles being made with authentic Japanese stone mill brought to my being.

Goma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba

I asked for the Goma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba.  For someone who takes roasted sesame oil by the teaspoonful – straight! – a dish built upon the goodness of this seed was a natural choice.  Subtly, it was also a quiet homage to the peanut and sesame cold noodles I had at Shi Lin at The Podium on the eve of my departure for this trip.  But lest you think I’m setting the stage for a comparison, I wasn’t.

Soba is Japanese thin buckwheat noodles.  Shimbashi Soba sources their organic buckwheat from Tasmania, their menu declares.  In the store, the noodles are made fresh to order, a work of art and heart by their skillful chefs using time-honored Japanese equipment and tradition.

Cold. Springy. With a little give to the bite. Perfect soba noodles.

 

Chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds

 

Sesame dipping sauce

The dish arrived in a lacquered tray, the cold buckwheat noodles nestled on a bamboo mat, it’s pale hue accented only by a lone lettuce leaf.  To its left was a dish of chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds, and a bowl of the savory sesame dipping sauce.  Doing away with the usual cold soba and sashimi pairing, I instead asked for  the Healthy Ten Zukuri Tofu, silken beancurd topped with a shiso leaf, wakame seaweed, and straw mushrooms, flavored with a bonito-infused dipping sauce spiked with grated ginger.

Healthy Ten Zukuri Tofu

 

Dipping sauce for the Healthy Ten Zukuri Tofu

My breathing no longer hurried, and the beads of perspiration wiped off, I savored the serenity offered by picking the soba with my chopsticks, allowing my wrist to make fluid motions as I dipped the twirled buckwheat ribbons in the robustness of the sauce, dusted the same with the green onions and sesame seeds, then quietly – ever so quietly – slurped away.

However careful I was, the action threatened to spray my UC Davis shirt and red shorts with the essence of my Japanese meal.  But I couldn’t care less as my tongue rushed to lick the sauce that was making its way from my lower lip to my chin.  This to me, is what tongue-lickin’ good actually is.

Shichimi Togarashi, traditional Japanese seven spice powder.

 

Friendship had the Teriyaki Chicken Don and Soba meal.

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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