Boyoso. A log cabin tucked away halfway up the hill under the Grand Hirafu Gondola. By day its one of Niseko’s few, family operated on hill restaurants and by night its the resort’s only on hill accommodation. Quaint and very cosy. Accessed by the Holiday Pair Chair Lift and a brief traverse. I’m assuming any overnight visitors would not have very much luggage. Perhaps just a backpack!
Boyoso was originally built in 1965 as a safety hut for people who lost their way on the mountain. Well before the Gondola Station was installed. For the skier it is easily accessed for a very authentic Japanese lunch via any of the runs under the King Quad Chair and of course the Gondola. Operated by Toshimi and Hiroko Funaba since 1986 its about as ski-in, ski-out as it gets.
Inside it is welcoming but rustic. A wood stove in the middle of the room adds ambience and warmth. The perfect place to dry your snow covered gear as you enjoy a Japanese lunch of ski hill favourites. Think soba, udon, curry, ramen and donburi. Hot tea is complimentary and in true Japanese style there is also an array of vending machines offering a large selection of beverages in a can. From beer and sake to soft drink and coffee.
My favourite? Ebiten Soba. That’s soba noodles in a dashi, soy and mirin broth with a single tempura prawn. Warming, delicious and satisfying on a cold winter’s day.
Soba Noodles in Broth
As luck would have it I came across this recipe last year. Dashi is an essential Japanese stock made from konbu (dried kelp) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Whilst it is quite easy to make up at home, instant dashi in granule or powder form is available at Japanese grocery stores here in Kutchan and at home in Australia. Make up dashi into stock as directed by the instructions on the packet. Shichimi togarashi, a spice mix, is also available at Japanese grocery stores.
To recreate my Boyoso lunch at home I like to top my Soba Noodle Broth with a tempura prawn. And you guessed it – these are also available pre-packaged in the freezer section of Japanese grocery stores.
2 litres dashi
1/2 teaspoon salt
125 ml Japanese soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
350 gm dried soba noodles
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
shichimi togarashi (seven spice mix), optional
COMBINE dashi and salt in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add soy sauce, sugar and mirin. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture back to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
MEANWHILE cook dried soba noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and refresh cooked soba noodles under cold running water.
DIVIDE the soba noodles among four deep noodle bowls and ladle over the hot dashi broth. Top with spring onion and shichimi togarashi and serve immediately.