Sunday, 19 March 2017

Delivering Noodles without Spilling a Drop

A photo of a rusty old Yamaha bike used for delivering Japanese soba and udon noodles
A Delicious Balancing Act: Home Delivery Japanese-Style
The picture shows a rusty old Yamaha bike used to deliver noodles, such as soba (thin buckwheat noodles) and udon (fat wheat-flour noodles). Food delivery is called demae (出前) in Japan. Aside from the in-built gloves on the handlebars, a key feature of the bike is the swinging tray on the back. The bowl or bowls of noodles are placed on this tray, usually covered in cling film and often placed in a plastic or Styrofoam box. The shock-absorbers at the top mean that the driver can weave through traffic and narrow streets without fear of the contents spilling while the green plastic sheets are pulled down to stop them getting dirty. An alternative design has two metal boxes (okamochi) hanging on either side of the bike at the back (these  are more commonly used to deliver ramen or Chinese noodles in broth). This may sound rather precarious but food invariably arrives quickly and in the same condition as if it were presented to you in a restaurant - and the demands on the delivery driver are much less than in the past when it required rather a little more skill! For a detailed description of the different designs available today - and to buy your own - see here.