A new eatery featuring “salt noodles” opens on October 29th, just three minutes on foot from JR Chikuzenmaebaru Station, the gateway to Itoshima. If you read the restaurant’s name, “Oshi no Chiitama,” backward, it spells “Mataichi no Shio,” the name of that popular craft salt manufacturer in Itoshima peninsula – and yes, it’s run by the same talented family and staff.
The menu here focuses on a single dish, “shio soba” (salt noodles) (¥1,300). The nutritious soup is made with wild sea bream from Itoshima, Kuroiwa-brand chicken raised on pasture in the mountains, vegetables, and whole-grain noodles made from Itoshima wheat. The soup is topped with delicate chashu (actually, more like a thin slice of ham) from Riverwild (Ukiha City), seasonal vegetables rolled in nori from Yanagawa, a seasoned soft-boiled egg, and crispy deep-fried burdock.
Begin with a sip of the soup, enjoy the noodles, savor the aroma of whole wheat flour, and then customize to taste. There are three varieties of salt to add: a heavy one from the bottom of the barrel during the salt-making process, shrimp salt, and sesame salt made with sesame and flaked salt. Mix these in to taste using their custom-made wooden spoons.
With so many variations to try, you might be worried that you’ll run out of noodles. Relax, kaedama (noodle refills) are included in the price. Or go for a completely different experience by ordering a side bowl of “aesoba” (¥300), a soupless noodle seasoned with oil, salt, soy sauce, and spices.
Almost everything is sourced from Itoshima or elsewhere in Kyushu, including tableware such as Arita-yaki bowls. Having only just opened, expect the menu to change a bit, and soon tables and chairs will be set up in the garden for people to enjoy craft beer and sake.
Also on the horizon are take-out salted koji chicken and charcoal-grilled free-range chicken. The drink menu features Ginjo Junmai Sake & Salt (¥600) made from sake rice produced in Nijo, Itoshima. They also stock a craft beer from Itoshima (¥550).
Call it salt soba, salt noodles, or salt ramen – whatever you like; this is a new, healthy and tasty dish that you should try!