Translated by Hilary Keyes
Soba Noodles: Their Calorie Content, Ingredients And Where To Eat Them
Soba noodles are a food loved in Japan for centuries and one of the representative dishes of the country. Find out more about the many varieties of soba noodle dishes, how to eat them and the best soba restaurants in Japan!
Written by Mayu
Soba - Tasty Buckwheat Noodles
Soba, or buckwheat, is one of the representative foods of Japan. Buckwheat seeds are pulverized and ground down into a powder, then mixed with water and kneaded into a dough, which is then made into long thin noodles, boiled and eaten.
Dried bonito and kombu (kelp) are made into a dashi stock, and added to soy sauce to create the perfect sauce or soup base, soba tsuyu.
Soba has a long history in Japan; it is said that buckwheat has been cultivated in Japan for about 10,000 years, since the Jomon period.
Today, from standing soba shops in train stations to high class restaurants, soba noodles can be enjoyed at different places throughout Japan. It is also said to be one of the foods most freely enjoyed in Japan. There are many different varieties of soba, from hot to cold, ones with tempura on top and more. In this article we will outline some of the many charms of these delicious noodles that visitors to Japan can enjoy.
Table of Contents:
1. The Nutrients and Calories in Soba
2. The Types of Soba
3. How to Eat Soba and its Condiments
4. Unusual Soba and Regional Dishes
5. Differences in Flavor Between Kanto and Kansai
6. Soba Prices, Chains and Recommended Shops
7. Soba Allergy
The Nutrients and Calories in Soba
Soba is a comparatively healthy food.
An individual serving of soba noodles contains roughly 300-400 kcal, and has lots of vitamins B1 and B2, lutin, dietary fiber, minerals, and protein, with very little fat. It also has a hypo-glycemic Index (GI) level, making it a suitable dish for dieters.
If you add tempura or kakiage to your soba, then it will come in at around 500 kcal per serving. If you are on a diet or trying to eat more healthily, then kakesoba, zarusoba, otafuku soba and other dishes with simple toppings are best for you.
Udon Versus Soba
Soba noodles, as we have said, are long, thin noodles made from buckwheat flour, while udon are thick, springy noodles made from wheat flour. Both may be served hot or cold with tsuyu, and as such, general restaurants selling soba often also have udon on the menu. To know more about udon noodles, please read: Know Your Noodle: The Differences Between Soba And Udon.
The Types of Soba
There are many different types of toppings available for soba, each with their own names. Kakesoba, zarusoba, morisoba, others - other than hot and cold soba, you should try some of the various types to see which suits you best.
Kakesoba is a simple soba featuring hot noodles in a broth, sometimes seasoned with green onions. This was said to have been invented during the Edo era as a fast food of sorts for package delivery people; the noodles and sauce were already together in one dish, making it something they could quickly slurp up.
Morisoba and zarusoba are noodles that have been boiled then chilled and placed on top of a bamboo plate and served with a dish of tsuyu to dip the noodles in. If the noodles come with shredded nori seaweed on them, then they are called zarusoba, if not, morisoba.
Kakiage are deep fried cakes made from finely cut onions, shrimp and other vegetables - they resemble tempura. Kakiage soba is a hot soba dish with one of these cakes on top. It is a great dish where you can really taste the sweetness of the vegetables in the cake well.