One of the many things that I love about traveling in Japan is the huge number of affordable, relatively healthy restaurants. If you want to go for yōshoku (their take on western food), which is basically dishes centred around meat, cheese, or egg, that’s a totally different story. But, if you wander into one of the Japanese noodle joints frequented by locals, it’s pretty easy to fill up on good quality delicious veggie food for five or six dollars. I also find that the atmosphere can often be more rewarding than dining at a formal restaurant. At these sorts of places, you get to sit shoulder to shoulder with high schoolers and businessmen, and there’s a lot more interaction with the customers and staff. You get a feel for Japanese food culture and etiquette…and honestly, that’s one of the best parts about eating out anyways!
I was walking through Mito train station looking for somewhere to stop for lunch, and I found this place advertising their salad udon. Usually, udon noodles are served in a hot broth along with something like green onions, deep fried tofu, or tempura. But, these noodles were topped with lettuce, bell peppers, carrots, okra, and crispy pumpkin sticks. I was so stoked to find this. Another lunch success!