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
Other than the standard types of kakesoba and zarusoba mentioned above, there are also some rather unusual ways of eating soba out there as well.
Soba-meshi is a dish where yakisoba (fried noodles with vegetables and meat) is mixed with rice. Not strictly a soba dish, it has however been gaining in popularity in recent years.
Soba-sushi is sushi where, instead of the usual vinegared rice, soba noodles are used. This dish is somewhat more refreshing tasting than common sushi.
Not strictly noodles, soba sashimi are thin, flat rectangles of boiled and cooled soba dough served with soy sauce and wasabi the same way that standard fish sashimi is. As you can fully appreciate the subtle flavors of the buckwheat in this dish, it is quite popular in Japan.
These sweet pouches of fried tofu are stuffed with diced soba noodles rather than the usual vinegared sushi rice and are more refreshing and lower in calories than standard Inari zushi.
A cold soba dish, these noodles come with lettuce, tomato and other vegetables, with salad dressing on top. This is a great, refreshing and light dish for the summer.
This is a hot kakesoba served with a croquet on top.
French Fry Zarusoba
This is a set meal of soba noodles and French fries, which was invented in Osaka by the Hankyu Soba Wakana shop. The delicious combination of the fries soaked in dashi stock is what makes this particularly popular.
Japan-wide Regional Dishes
All across Japan there are other characteristic ways of eating soba and of preparing soba which we will take a look at now.
This dish features soba noodles that have been made with buckwheat flour and prepared mashed soybeans; once the dough for the noodles is prepared, it is allowed to mature for half a day before being prepared. The texture of this dish is very soft and springy, and the addition of the soy beans gives the noodles a hint of sweetness.
This is a type of soba where seaweed has been added to the dough. 'Hegi' refers to the type of container it is arranged in when served.
This is a regional dish from Hinoematamura in Fukushima prefecture. Here, the noodles are much flatter and thicker than standard soba. They have a distinct springiness to them, giving them a great, substantial feeling when eaten.
This is a truly unusual type of soba - rather than eating it with chopsticks, this soba is eaten with stalk of green onion. Not only that but the soup base is also quite different. It is made with a slightly spicy daikon radish base. This soba is considered to be a dish of good fortune; the green onion, which is called naganegi (long onion) in Japanese, is said to grant one a long life.
This is a way of eating soba that originated in Hanamaki city, in Iwate prefecture. It is an essentially never-ending bowl of soba - a small dish of soba that is constantly refilled by the staff standing and waiting on you as you take the noodles and dip them into a separate dish of tsuyu.
This dish features small mounds of noodles that you scoop up in a small, open-woven ladle and soak in a pot full of hot tsuyu before eating. This hot soba is a perfect match for cold wintery weather. And as there are plenty of vegetables and mushrooms in the hot tsuyu, it is also a very nutritious dish.
This is a soba dish eaten in the Izumo area of Shimane prefecture. These noodles are made in a manner that leaves some of the husks from the buckwheat in the flour, giving the noodles a distinctive darker color to them. They are eaten with tsuyu as usual.
This is a soba dish of cha soba, with beef strips cooked in a salty-sweet sauce, thinly sliced omelette, green onions, grated daikon radish and chili, and dried seaweed strips served on a hot kawara, or roof tile. This dish is eaten with a hot tsuyu sauce. For more about this, please refer to this article: Cooked on a Roof Tile?! Yamaguchi's Famous Kawara Soba
This is a type of soba made from the buckwheat that is produced on Nagasaki's outlying island of Tsushima. These noodles have a much stronger flavor to them than standard soba.
This type of soba features noodles that have been made with 'jinenjo' (Japanese yam/yamaimo) as a filler, and topped with Kagoshima's famous fried fish cakes or fried fish balls.
An original cuisine from Okinawa, which is not made with buckwheat flour but wheat flour and often eaten topped with another famous Okinawan dish, rafute (sweet stewed pork belly cubes). A Stunning Seaside View And Stellar Okinawan Soba At Kunnato has more information on this topic.