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Keiya Udon: One of Tokyo’s best noodle shops
Keiya is my favorite udon shop. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to it but it’s a lot. On average, I go to it once every two weeks. There was a time when I went to it every two days! That surely gives you a hint about how highly I rate this shop. If you want great Japanese food in Tokyo, you should check it out.
Do you know the Japan’s Showa era? It was named after Emperor Hirohito. It went from 1926 to 1989, when he died. The latter half of that period, after WWII, has a lot of nostalgia for Japanese people and myself too. It was a time of rebuilding the country and people had big dreams. Bright colors were common and Keiya has them!
Mr. Kikuchi is the owner and has been running it since 2003. He is a good cook and enjoys a good chat. I’m surprised at his stamina as he only has one day a month off.
There are two things I must say about Keiya. Yurakucho Station is near and his shop is under the tracks. That means it can be pretty noisy when a train passes! I don’t mind and his regular clientele don’t either.
The other thing is that a noren (like a curtain) separates the shop from the outside world. There is no door. Keiya is tiny. So, the shop’s two tables are on the pavement. It’s real Tokyo street food.
According to Mr. Kikuchi, 90% of his customers order curry udon. And so do I, as it is very good. You can also get toppings for it. My favorite is menchi-katsu (breaded and deep-fried meat patty). Others are available. If you prefer soba, you order that too.
The other thing about Keiya is that it is egalitarian. I’ve taken friends there when Mr. Kichuchi has been super busy and the shop is full. He puts the food on the counter and his customers will pass it over with a smile. I love seeing that.
How is Keiya’s curry udon?
The curry has a slightly thick texture and Japanese-style soup stock. Its udon noodles are smooth and quite thin. The only ingredients are pork, onions, and green onions. Simple is best as some say.
What other udon dishes are on the menu?
- Kake (basic noodles)
- Kitsune (fried tofu)
- Tamago (egg)
- Wakame (seaweed)
If you prefer soba, you can do that with everything.
- Kakiage (a fried clump of seafood and vegetables)
- Beer and sake
Food and drink are very reasonable.
- For the curry udon, rice is free. You can put that into the soup as well!
- Jugs of water and glasses are on the counter. Help yourself.
- Just be careful if you are in a hurry to eat. Mr. Kikuchi does everything by himself, so it takes a little time.
- Once you finish eating, return everything to the counter. Mr. Kikuchi would be grateful for that.
- 11:00 to 11:00 Monday to Friday
- 11:00 to 7:00 Saturday and Sunday
Mr. Kikuchi takes one day off a month, but it is completely random!
Cash only. Sorry, you can’t use credit cards or e-payments.
Does Mr. Kichuchi speak English?
He speaks a little. You’ll have no problems getting your food,
Where is Keiya?
It’s between Hibiya, Yurakucho, and Ginza stations. Click here to see it on Google Maps.
I love Keiya because its curry udon is great and Mr. Kikuchi is a nice guy. The atmosphere is awesome. His customers are friendly and you might have some interesting experiences with them. Whatever happens, it’ll be an authentic Tokyo dining experience for you.
As a bonus, prices are reasonable. If you are on a budget, you won’t be disappointed. It is a restaurant that should be on your Tokyo bucket list. Check it out.
External related articles:
- Keiya on Tabelog (a Japanese restaurant review website)
Other restaurant articles on Tokyo in Pics.com