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Ma Soba

If you're impressed with the hundreds of ways Italians serve pasta, venture into the realm of Pan-Asian cuisine and discover tasty noodle dishes from another part of the world. At Ma Soba, a cafeteria-style eat-in or take-out restaurant in Harvard Square, noodles are everywhere -- in the soups, in the salads, even in the sandwiches.

Soba are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat and wheat flour, which give them a dark brownish color. But that's only the beginning of the over 40 dishes served in this impeccably clean and bustling eatery. The filling Big Noodle Soups ($4.95 to $5.25) include Szechuan sautéed shredded chicken, Thai curry beef, and shrimp-and-vegetable tempura. Rice platters ($4.95 to $5.25) are also hearty and flavorful; try the Hainan slow-simmered chicken with ginger sauce. The sandwich wraps ($3.95 to $4.50) include a delicious roast-Peking duck wrap in hoisin sauce. Among the side orders ($1.75 to $3.95), don't miss my favorite item on the menu: Hunan dumplings in spicy peanut-and-sesame sauce.

Ma Soba, located at 30 Dunster Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 868-7878.

-- Theresa Regli

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