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Before There Was Fast Food, These Noodle Cyclists Ruled the Streets of Japan

By Monica Buck

Demanding a tip might get a little harder for any delivery guy who takes a look at the photo gallery below. Because before there were cell phones and apps to specify your order, the hard-working men had to guess what the customers might want and simply stack it onto their shoulders. Plus, there were no cars to spare. So pedalling it was. What is a pretty tough job today must have been almost unbearable back in those days.

The delivery men took their bikes and food to places filled with potential customers, such as universities. Not unlike today. But getting there took time, so the food usually went cold. That’s why soba-buckwheat noodles were popular with the customers. It didn’t matter if you ate them cold with dipping sauce or put them in a hot broth of your own. They were affordable and didn’t change appearance or lose flavour while being carried around for long periods of time. Hard to know if they had any to begin with, but as some of the shops in the photos are still in operation today, we guess we’d be surprised.