Soba has been widely popular as a common food in Japan. Soba is served both hot and cold throughout all 4 seasons. Cold soba is easy to eat when you have a small appetite in summer and soba in hot soup warms you up in winter time. Soba is rich in nutrition but is also low in calories, so many people like to eat it.
1. What is Soba?
Soba is processed buckwheat noodles. Its main ingredients are buckwheat, flour and water.
To make it, mix the buckwheat and flour, add water and knead it all together. Stretch and fold the dough and then cut it into strands. Boil the noodles when you want to eat it. To make the soup for soba, boil soy sauce, mirin, sugar and dashi (soup stock) made from bonito flakes.
Common Soba Dishes
Zaru Soba: Soba served on zaru (a flat bamboo basket) with soba soup to dip the soba in. It originated in the Edo period, when soba was served on zaru, not on a dish.
Oroshi Soba: It is famous in Fukui prefecture. It is soba served with grated radish in soba soup to dip the soba in. You can also pour the soup over the soba.
Tempura Soba: Simply Soba noodles in soup topped with shrimp tempura. The origin of tempura soba is unknown.
Local Own Soba in Japan
Wanko Soba – Iwate prefecture “Wanko” means “Owan (bowl)” in Iwate dialect. One mouthful of soba is repeatedly served to you in a small bowl until you close the lid of the bowl. After you close the lid, the staff stops giving you soba noodles. It is actually hard to decide when to close the lid, but it is also fun!
Hegi Soba – Niigata Prefecture This soba noodles are made of buckwheat and seaweed called Funori, which produces elastic noodles.
Chasoba – Kyoto/Shizuoka prefecture: Soba noodles with matcha kneaded into the dough. The aroma of matcha goes well with soba flavor.
Kawara soba – Yamaguchi Prefecture: It is also called “Tile soba”, as it is cooked and served on a “roof tile” which is usually used on the roofs of traditional Japanese houses. As toppings, thinly sliced grilled or boiled eggs, beef and some vegetables are placed on the soba noodles.