No soup?? Abura soba might not have the soup, but this ramen still delivers on deliciousness. It uniquely uses an oil-like sauce. Now let’s be clear, abura soba is not exactly a healthy dish. But this oil (abura) does mean there’s less calories than the soup in a bowl of ramen.
Soupless ramen doesn’t get as much love as ramen. But it’s easy to find in Tokyo and with a history since the 1950s, has its own dedicated following.
If you’re in Tokyo, the easiest way to dive in is to visit the biggest chain, “Abura Soba Tokyo Abura Gumi Souhonten”. Simply look for the red neon sign.
Abura Soba Ingredients
The “oil” in this dish includes pork grease, a thicker soy sauce, Japanese chili oil, and garlic. You’ll find this oil at the very bottom of the bowl. It’s their secret sauce. On top of this are the noodles and on top of them are toppings like chashu pork, green onions, white onions, seaweed, and menma (bamboo shoots).
The above bowl includes some extra trimmings – chashu pork and more green onions.
To enjoy delicious soupless ramen in mini portions, book our Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour below!
What to Order
At this restaurant chain, you can get the regular for 760 Yen or the extra spicy miso for 820 Yen. No matter what size you get, it’s the same price:
Regular (Nami): 160 grams of noodles
Large (O-mori): 240 grams of noodles
Largest (W-mori): 320 grams of noodles
Thick noodles are common and help mop up the special oil that makes abura soba burst with flavors. It’s a greasy experience; but a truly savory one.
You’re meant to mix well, digging up that oil and having it blend with the noodles.
Condiments are popular in abura soba. This neon-lit chain has vinegar, chili oil and a vat of diced onions on their tables. They also have “yuzu kosho” (a citrusy chili pepper) or garlic – both available on request.
Adding mayonnaise or parmesan cheese is 50 Yen each. Some other Tokyo soupless ramen spots might have ginger, miso paste or other condiments.
Have a watch below – I sample and rank 4 of the best INSTANT abura soba from Japan (including the neon red’s one)!