Japanese cuisine is a treasure trove of stories and flavors. For example, Soba noodles (noodles made with buckwheat flour) show how in Japan an apparently simple dish can open up almost endless possibilities. Read on to learn more about them!
A Signature Noodle
Soba noodles are a very popular dish in Japan, and the signature noodle of the region northeast of Tokyo. They have a nutty flavor and a grainy texture that makes them ideal for mild broths or simple dressings.
These noodles rose to prominence in the Edo period (1665-1885) and to this day many office workers have soba noodles for lunch.
In Japan there is an entire culture built around these noodles. Chefs in the most expensive restaurants in Tokyo order buckwheat from the Japanese Alps and they grind the kernels themselves. Such is the devotion that this dish inspires, that some men have quit their jobs in order to apprentice under some of the most famous soba chefs.
Soba Noodles Are Also Humble (and Versatile)
As refined as they can be, these noodles are far from a luxury. As mentioned above, they are a staple in the diet of office workers and there are many inexpensive soba shops all over Japan. Soba noodles are also widely available in supermarkets, just as any other common, everyday grocery item.
These noodles are extremely versatile. Some varieties include tempura soba (noodles with meat, fish or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried), natto soba (noodles and quail eggs), zaru soba (soba noodles served with cold tsuyu dipping sauce) and kitsune soba (noodles topped with chewy deep-fried tofu slices.)
Buckwheat Is Rich in Lysine
It’s difficult to talk about the nutritional properties of soba noodles because the formulation may change depending on the brand. For example, some products advertised as soba contain more wheat flour than buckwheat.
However, buckwheat offers some unique benefits. This grain contains high levels of the amino acid lysine, which is relatively low in other plant protein sources. This makes buckwheat and buckwheat products an excellent option for people whose diet excludes animal foods.
Try Our Soba Noodles!
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