Special soup makes noodles a hit at Japanese tea shop

SAKAIDE, Kagawa – A large sign with the kanji character “cha” (tea) is seen at the entrance of Shinsui-en, established in 1887. Inside, a wide variety of tea leaves are on the shelves, including the shop’s proprietary blend of green tea and those mixed with brown rice that is carefully roasted using traditional techniques.

In a corner of the shop, a customer doesn’t ask for a hot cup of tea. Instead, the order is for a piping hot bowl of noodles, which Yasunori Takamiya, the shop’s 45-year-old sixth-generation owner, brings a few minutes later.

The shop has an eat-in area with six tables and four seats at the counter. During lunchtime, many regulars come for the shop’s chukasoba Chinese-style noodles.

It was Takamiya’s grandfather who started the eat-in area about 60 years ago because he wanted to serve customers more than just tea.

In the early days, the shop also served spaghetti and curry with rice, but chukasoba has become the signature item, with a small serving for ¥460 (S$5.90) and a large serving for ¥620.

Shinsui-en’s version of the noodle includes kombucha dried kelp tea in its bonito-based soup to add a distinctive flavor.

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