I’ve always been a big believer in fate and happenstance. A couple of Saturday’s ago couldn’t have been more predetermined.
It went a little like this…
- Sarah and I were hungry so we decided to be “adventurous” and hop on the metro, get off at a random stop and find a place to eat.
- As we’re gliding along on line seven, Sarah unexpectedly feels nauseous. We immediately get off at the next stop to sit down, regroup and buy a bottle of water.
- While we wait to hop back on the train, Sarah recognizes a guy from her teaching job, Brice, also waiting.
- After catching up for a few minutes, we decide to have lunch together. He was on his way to a Japanese place a few stops away.
Now that I’ve written this out, our chance encounter with Brice doesn’t seem as exciting as it was. But I promise you, IT WAS CRAZY. To run into someone at a stop you randomly and temporarily stopped at only to be led to a delicious lunch is pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me.
Anyway, after getting off at Opera, we walked through Paris’ own “Japantown”, passing by long lines outside of noodle houses and other Japanese dives. Brice took us to Naniwa-Ya. I had originally been on the hunt for soup that afternoon so I was happily greeted by a menu full of soupes de pates fraiches (fresh noodle soups). I settled on a 10 euro formule, which included a soup, half of a Donburi (rice bowl) and salad. I chose the Kitsune soup with udon noodles and the Tanin Donburi with scrambled egg and beef. The salad was small but just what I was hoping for – topped with a delicious, homemade ginger dressing.
Naniwa-Ya is definitely considered a local spot. On our trek through “Japantown” I never once saw a tourist. Even though I’m not a true Parisian, living here has given me the right to despise touristy folks. Thus, it was extremely refreshing to be surrounded by locals in an unassuming noodle house. If you’ve got a special place in your heart for authentic Asian fare, take an excursion off the beaten path of Paris to Naniwa-Ya (or one of the other packed places). With the cold front coming in, I foresee many soup lunches here.
Naniwa-Ya, 11 Rue Sainte-Anne, Paris (1st)