Yume Ga Arukara

By Eric Twardzik · 04/22/2019    Cambridge · Japanese · $

“If my kids ask me ‘Why do you work every day?’ I want to tell them ‘Because I have dreams.’”

That message, scrawled messily in big blue letters against a white wall, may be the only element of Yume Ga Arukara not specifically tied to the preparation and consumption of udon noodles. But it speaks volumes about the spirit that goes into making each bowl.

If all this talk of dreams and noodles sounds familiar, it’s because this small Porter Exchange food stall shares ownership with the endearingly eccentric Yume Wo Katare. Like its nearby ramen-serving sister spot, Yume Ga Arukara regularly draws lines (but its location in a miniature Japanese-style food hall means you won’t have to wait it out in the elements).

Just enter the Porter Exchange building and proceed directly to the hall’s end, where you’ll encounter a line of eager noodle seekers. Take your place and be patient: It moves quickly. You’ll need to figure out your order by the time you reach the front, but that shouldn’t be difficult. There are just three choices: Hot Udon, Niku Udon (served cold), and on certain days, a spicy version of Niku Udon. The truly famished can also opt for “extra noodles,” “extra extra noodles,” or to double (even triple) the beef portion in the bowl.

After ordering (and paying), you’ll be seated at either the open kitchen-facing bar or a long table below it. A sign prohibiting smartphone use goes unenforced, but follow it to enjoy the sights and smells of an udon assembly line to the fullest. Look closely and you may even catch the secret to how those noodles can be so pillowy-soft yet slurp-ably silky at the same time.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Yume Ga Arukara is cash-only. There’s a Bank of America ATM in the building.

If you’ve got room for “okawari service,” a.k.a. a second helping, you’re welcome to order one—you’ll just have to get back in line first.

Bring some of the magic home via a takeout-only portion of beef.

Like at Yume Wo Katare, staff will loudly rate finished bowls with “good,” “pretty good,” or “perfect.” Just know that earning the highest commendation requires slurping down broth to the last drop.

Must Haves

  • A light, beef-based broth that’s both savory and a little sweet harmonizes the disparate elements that make up this soupy bowl: thin-sliced strips of smoky beef, tangy mini shrimp, crunchy tempura flakes, and starchy udon noodles.

  • A more shallow—but concentrated—broth allows the fat, wavy udon noodles to take center stage in this cold dish. Its other elements, including shaved radish, scallions, lemon, and thin-sliced beef, flavor and enhance each slurp.

  • Only served during dinner Tuesday through Thursday, this cold udon is a maximalist take on the standard, with chili oil and chili paste in addition to mini shrimp and tempura flakes. The sweet, concentrated broth deliciously clashes with the spicy depth of chili and the sharp, briny shrimp without upstaging noodles in their starring role.

Fun Fact

Yume Ga Arukara translates to “because I have a dream.”

Tastes of Yume Ga Arukara

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