Monday, May 6, 2013

soba (そば)

Soba, or buckwheat noodles, is one of my favorite Japanese dishes.  It's very much due to the excellent sauce, but also to the texture of the noodles, which is pretty much like whole wheat spaghetti.  Soba can vary quite a bit in terms of price and quality.  The most inexpensive soba goes for a little over 200 yen; other places might charge in the neighborhood of 1000 yen.  The more expensive places are probably charging for atmosphere and for the fact that the noodles are fresh and handmade every day.  The cheaper places are fast-food versions where people pop in and out and don't linger much.  Ten or so years ago, I only ever saw salarymen in the cheaper soba shops, but now I see all kinds of people, men and women from whatever generations.

Years ago, I read in a travel guide that soba was for the poorer mountain people who couldn't grow or afford rice.  White rice was considered a luxury.

Below is sansai soba (sansai means "mountain vegetables"). You can buy it in pre-sealed packs at the supermarket.

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