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The bottomless bowl of soba

By: Sheila J. Vaughen

Date Posted: 2001-05-04

A big bowl of steaming fresh soba is made even heartier when you make your selection to add whole boiled eggs and chunks of chicken and pork rib. This is the featured dish at Ajikuta restaurant that offers Okinawa’s only bottomless bowl of soba and its served up everyday as part of their lunch buffet.

Ajikuta is a sokuda style restaurant which means it is an inexpensive eatery, usually thought of as offering Okinawan home cooking. The name Ajikuta is an Okinawan word meaning delicious meal. Judging from my experience there last week, the name rings true.

A friend and I stopped into Ajikuta to sample items from the buffet, and in addition to loving the soba, we both agreed the curry rice was delicious - not too spicy and not too mild. Fried chicken pieces, vegetables and fruit rounded out the buffet making for a quick and filling mid-day meal.

The soba bowl is truly bottomless as guests are allowed to go back for seconds or even thirds if that were possible; soba lovers know how filling a bowl can be. The price is reasonable at just ¥650 for a complete meal including a soda, tea or coffee.

Not only is it a great place to pop in for a quick and satisfying lunch, but dinner offers another special treat. At dinner the featured dish is Yakiniku beef.

For the uninitiated, Yakiniku beef involves the selection of raw strips of prime beef that you grill yourself at a small barbecue at your table, and then season according to your liking. This is part of the dinner buffet that also features rice variations, various vegetables and other fried meat such as chicken and pork.

One of the best aspects of Ajikuta is its home-style feel of a family-owned business. The staff members are friendly and accommodating, offering simple and good food. For dining, patrons have the choice of sitting according to traditional Japanese style, on tatami mats with low tables, or in the front section that features western style, wooden tables and chairs.

Prices for the dinner buffet are set according to rates for men, women and children. Assuming that men are likely to eat more beef than women typically will, they have set the price for men at ¥1480 and for women at ¥1280. Children have dinner for only ¥680 unless they are under the age of two, in which case they eat for free. Bottled beer is ¥450 and draft is ¥400.

The management serves up steaming bowls of soba for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and are grilling up delicious beef dinners from 5 to 11 pm. The café is located just a short distance from Kadena’s Gate 2 district past the main four corners intersection at Hwy 330. Just drive out Gate 2 Street, less than five minutes past the intersection until you see a Nisseki gas station on the right. Ajikuta is on the left side, a half block past the Nisseki.

Free parking is a little tight, but available in front of the café or next door in front of a small, arcade amusement center. They accept yen only, so be sure to be prepared; and their phone number is 098-934-3020.

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