Wonderful Vintage Photos of Old Art of Soba Delivery on Bicycles in Japan


Japan has witnessed an overhaul in the way food delivery is done since the old days of demae. Earlier food delivery in Japan was done by deliverymen using a unique yet straightforward technique of stacking food towers on their shoulders as they traveled on their bicycle to various places, including universities.

Now, this has been replaced with technological tools like cell phones, apps, online ordering. You will be happy to find out that one of the most popular foods was soba, buckwheat noodles that can be eaten cold by dipping in a sauce or served in hot broth. This was a favorite food item because it was affordable and could be carried around easily without losing flavor or appearance.

Demae originates back to the mid-Edo period in the 1700s. Wealthy daimyo, feudal lords usually used them as they sent the servants to notify the shopkeepers that they wanted the food delivered to their homes. With time, demae system became popular in Japan, and all from students to office workers started adopting it.

Damage required a lot of poise, precision, and care on the deliveryman’s part which can be seen in the photos below that belong to the mid-20th century.

This holds because it is not easy to balance enough soba and bowls to feed dozens or even up to a hundred people. However, this method of delivering food is not practiced today. Many of the photos are from soba shops that are doing business even today!

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