25 Jan 2017 in Food Culture
If you thought you knew all there is to know about Japanese noodles, you'll be surprised to discover these little-known recipes...
Soba are flat and thin noodles, made from buckwheat flour. It is a popular dish throughout the country, especially in areas where the soil is suitable for growing buckwheat. Nagano Prefecture, for example, is one of the producing regions, and so you will find a great many restaurants specialising in soba here.
One visit is not enough to sample all the recipes. The most popular, and ordinarily, is Mori (or Zaru): these soba are served cold with a sauce made of broth, water and mirin, which you dip them in before eating. The cooking juices are then added to the sauce to make a broth that you drink at the end of the meal. Other famous recipes to mention are Kake, Kitsune and Tanuki soba, and also Tempura soba, a great favourite, often (but not always) eaten like Mori but served with three or four vegetable tempura.
Tsukimi soba, can be eaten hot or cold, in a broth with vegetables and egg yolk, which is there to remind us of the moon – tsukimi means “moon-gazing” in Japanese. Tororo are slimy soba noodles basically served cold with a big dollop of grated raw nagaimo, which could be sometimes unusual or surprising… but tasty! You should also try Sansai and Nanban soba during your stay to have a great overview of soba noodles in Japan!
How to eat soba
Soba are usually served in a soup and are enjoyed by using your chopsticks to lead the noodles into your mouth while making a slurping sound. The slurping enhances the flavors and avoid buring yourself when eating.