Okay, so Asian restaurants seem like they’ve taken over the food industry a bit. You have your typical Thai place, your Sushi joint, and your local Chinese restaurant. They seem to be on every block in Salem, but only one place serves multiple kinds of Asian cuisine – Soba Asian Bistro in downtown Salem.
The word ‘soba’ refers to a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour, but the bistro not only serves Japanese food, but also Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese.
Located on State Street, Soba is a convenient walk-in with spacious seating where each table has the theme of a different Asian city. Food is ordered and paid for at the front counter; it is then served soon after you have seated yourself. The owner, who is from Hong Kong, often greets customers at the front with a smile.
The prices are reasonable, but Soba never serves cheap food. My favorite dish is the Thai classic, Bangkok Pad Thai (only $6.99). I’m always stuffed by the time I’ve finished, as the portions are larger than average. Thanks to its creation on an authentic Mandarin wok and grill, the food is hot and fresh.
Other orders include healthy noodle soups, rice bowls (shrimp, beef, chicken and veggie options), and a few noodle dishes. Don’t overlook the appetizers either; they can be quite tasty!
The food may be not be Oregon’s best Asian fare, but the atmosphere, prices and creativity more than make up for it. The ambience is comfortable with high ceilings, cool Asian tapestries – one bearing a sweet dragon, brick walls – and modern, if not sparse, décor.
Besides, if you want to know the time in three different cities, look no farther. Three clocks adorn the wall, one featuring the time in Salem, another the time in Bangkok and another the time in Tokyo.