Japanese Soba Noodles

By Dyske    April 15th, 2009

Soba noodle

Soba noodles

Soba noodles are relatively popular in New York, but unfortunately the brand you find most commonly is Roland Organic Soba Noodles. My wife is American, and she’s never even been to Japan, but even she can tell the obvious difference between Roland’s Soba noodles and any Japanese soba noodles you can find in a Japanese grocery store.

Roland’s noodles are spineless. They are mushy no matter how you cook it. So, avoid it. You can buy pretty much any brand of soba noodles at a Japanese grocery store. (If the store is owned by a Japanese person, they would not carry Roland’s. If they do, the owner should commit suicide.) One pictured to the right is just one of many. To be honest, I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference from one brand to another. But some are flavored. My daughter likes the one with umeboshi (pickled plum) flavor because it’s pink. You can also get green tea soba noodle too. Some are equivalent to linguini; thickly cut. I like them too.

All you have to do is to cook it like pasta, but you drain and cool it under running cold water. During the summer time, I even serve it with ice cubes mixed in. You then prepare a small bowl with dipping sauce (here is an example of soba noodle dipping sauce). You may have to dilute it with water. I usually mix some wasabi in it. You then take a small amount of the noodle with your chopsticks and dip it in the sauce.

2 Responses

  1. Frank Luo says:

    I love shredding some fresh shiso and ripping up some nori into it before dipping it into the sauce. And if I can find it I also use raw wasabi, the actual root, rather than the powdered stuff which has some mustard in it (not a figure of speech — actual mustard seed and usually some food coloring…). Sometimes I even take larger pieces of nori and pick the noodles up with the nori in my hand and dip and eat the resulting bundle like sushi in the dipping sauce.

    I don’t think I can tell between different brands of dried soba but I can definitely tell when a place makes it fresh from scratch the same day. Now that’s good stuff.

  2. S Onosson says:

    In S. Korea, they serve a dish made of chilled noodles in the summertime called “naengmyeon”, which I think means just “cold noodles” (the “myeon” is equivalent to the “-men” in “ramen”). The noodles are made of some kind of root, I believe, though I’m not sure which.