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Soba


torakris
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I actually prefer the other Japanese noodles (udon, somen, etc) to soba, but sometimes I do get a good craving going.

In the winter I like a nice bowl of hot kitsune soba (with a piece of slightly sweet deep fried tofu) with lots and lots of scallions.

In the summer it is zaru soba all the way usually with a big mound of grated daikon and a little quail egg yolk dumped into the dipping sauce.

My husband is a tanuki soba guy (with agedama, the fried bits leftover from tempura making) hot in the winter and cold in the summer, in the summer he likes to mix a pack of natto in as well.

What is your favorite way to eat soba?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Zaru-soba. I find the flavour of the buckwheat really stands out in this format.

I like kitsune-soba as well but then I tend to pay more attention to the tofu.

I also like to make maki with soba.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Kitsune and tanuki are lovely. Zaru soba rocks during the summer.

I must admit that on a bitterly cold day like today (it's -18C outside!), I enjoy tossing anything into the broth: jumbo shrimp, spinach, eggs, surimi, slices of leftover roast pork. Yes, it's mongrel soba, but it gives me stamina.

Occasionally, soba salad.

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Occasionally, soba salad.

I love soba salad!

I have stopped making it for Japanese guests though, they seemed to really have a hard time with it.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I like soba with mountain potato (yamaimo) in the broth. Gives it a swishy consistency... makes the flavors of the broth milder too.

Oh, I had forgotten about this one!

I usually eat it zaru soba style, in the summer this a very popular lunch at the convenience stores. My friend and I will usually pick up a couple of bowls of it and take them to the park with us as a quick and easy linch for us and the kids.

7-11 (convenience store chain) makes the best version.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm afraid I have to chime in on the zaru-soba. It was the first meal my host family offered me, and the one during which I had to try using chopsticks with something approaching grace. :wacko:

I have very fond memories of it. It always makes me think of Yokohama.

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I'm more of an udon person in general, but I also like zaru soba. The first time I ever had some was on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Osaka. The caterer actually did a decent job and I craved zaru soba for months afterwards.

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That's the thing. I enjoy slurping udon soups. I love Shanghai noodles, sa ho rice noodles, somen... And eat them more frequently than I do soba.

But soba, in paticular zaru-soba, seems to haunt one after tasting it.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Tempura soba please with plenty of SB chili flakes. Always get it at Tsukiji market for breakfast (reward for waking up so early) when I visit. There's this elderly couple that run a stall in front of the retail market section (a block down from the wholesale market itself). But first love must be udon, however. It's that chewy gluteny thing that soba does not have. Curry udon is heaven (but can't avoid whip-cracking effect when inhaling the damn things, thus invariably staining my shirt)...

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In NYC, there is a restaurant called Honmura An (located in SoHo, on Mercer Street, between Houston and Spring Streets, closer to Houston) that's reportedly famous for making its own soba in-house, every single day. Not sure if there are other comparable establishments in NYC, but at least with HA, its the most authentic that I have visited to date.

HA offers several dishes involving soba, both cold and hot methods. My favorite apart from zaru soba is the one involving shredded duck meat, daikon and scallions, with a duck broth. Second place goes to daikon, scallions, ginger and tofu. HA also has what I call a "sizzling soba casserole" involving soba. Another draw is their extensive "small plate" appetizer selection, which includes among other things, ground chicken meatballs served with hot Japanese mustard and sprouts, and deep-fried tofu stuffed with ground shrimp and water chestnuts -- but their soba preparations are the big ticket for me. (Hence my e-gullet handle, btw fyi.)

For the sashimi addicted, HA will serve maguro and hamachi, but their soba/udon is the thing. Also, HA was the first place that introduced me to the tradition of drinking the soba cooking water as a sort of mini-soup after I had polished off the noodles. (Basically, combine the cooking water with the leftover dipping sauce and scallions/grated daikon.)

SA

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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Tempura soba please with plenty of SB chili flakes.  Always get it at Tsukiji market for breakfast (reward for waking up so early) when I visit.  There's this elderly couple that run a stall in front of the retail market section (a block down from the wholesale market itself).

Oh my God - I think I've eaten there! Just an open kitchen and 4 or 5 stools on the sidewalk, right? My first breakfast in Tokyo, so cold it actually snowed later that day - in April. That tempura soba was a lifesaver. :smile:

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  • 5 months later...

made some tororo soba for lunch yesterday, lots of wasabi and scallion, damn this is good stuff

I think this is my new favorite way to eat it. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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So what is zaru soba exactly?  Besides very popular.

zaru soba are cold soba noodles served with a dipping sauce and some condiments, they are called zaru after the bamboo mat/basket (or zaru) they are served on.

picture and recipe:

http://www.jinjapan.org/kidsweb/cook/part6/6-2.html

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Not to distract from zaru soba, but how about Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki? You know, the kind with soba and other junk in the middle and batter on the outside. So good! But the soba seems usually to be yakisoba (wheat) kind, not buckwheat noodles. Also, some people seem to find it very strange . . . noodles in a pancake?

Zaru soba can be memorable or the epitome of blandness - it really depends on the quality of the ingredients, especially the noodles. Also, it really helps to have fresh wasabi with it - a small amount provides a spicy / herbal counterpoint for the soba but doesn't overpower it. I know, I sound really precious. . .

Tenzaru is a different thing altogether - chomping on fried shrimp means that you're not really going to taste the soba much anyway, so the counterpoint is mostly textural. No wasabi in that case (doesn't go with tempura IMHO) but chili (and fried garlic) by all means.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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I know what you mean about zaru soba.

Unless it is really good, I find it bland and am always wishing for something to liven it up.

I really think tororo is a perfect match for it and lots of fresh wasabi of course! :biggrin:

I am not a big yaki soba fan and have only tried the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki once and found the noodless distracting.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Am going home to make zaru soba ... don't have any tororo so will miss that... but in my desire to jazz it up, I will be setting out nori, sliced egg, wasabi, sesame, and some tuna...

kind of hiyashi chuka meets zaru soba

I'm rather excited, haven't had either in a long time

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In the summer it is zaru soba all the way usually with a big mound of grated daikon and a little quail egg yolk dumped into the dipping sauce.

I first encountered this in a park in Nara on a very hot August afternoon. That first serving of cold soba on a mat, a small bowl of dipping sauce, quail egg, grated radish and some herbs is one of the essential food travel memories I have. I don't know if another dish has ever seemed so appropriate, so right for the moment and place and so revitalizing. Of course the few times I've ordered anything close in the US, it's fallen flat on its face in terms of nourishment for the body or mind. It's been unsatisfying by comparison.

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  • 8 months later...

Just the word "soba" is quite ambiguous.

I like "inaka soba" (literally, country or rural soba), and I like "hegi soba" best of all.

Click this:

http://www.sobaland.com/sobako.htm

Scroll down, the first photo shows brown "inaka soba".

And click this:

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/avance-etigo/437966/438008/

Hegi soba contain "funori", a type of laver:

http://apti.net.pref.aomori.jp/info/04/02/040202113.html

so that they look green.

And, there are "juwari soba" (十割そば), made of buckwheat flour only, or "nihachi soba" (二八そば), which are 20% wheat flour and 80% buckwheat flour.

Which particular type of soba do you prefer?

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