There are several varieties of noodles that are often enjoyed in Japan. In America, some of the more common noodles you can find in supermarkets and order at Japanese restaurants include ramen, udon, and soba. Dishes made with any of the three are usually quite tasty. However, soba noodles dishes are also often healthier since they have more nutrients and nutritional properties.
Soba noodles made primarily from buckwheat are an excellent source of protein. Noodles made 100% from buckwheat without any added flour or additives also don’t contain any fat or cholesterol. They are also gluten-free, making them a great alternative to other noodles for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet.
Manganese and thiamine are two of the beneficial vitamins and minerals found in the noodles, helping to reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders when part of a regular diet.
Different Kinds of Soba Noodles
While you may be familiar with one particular variety of soba noodles, there are several, each with their distinctive flavors or textures. Try to seek out each of the following varieties of soba noodles. You can have an authentic soba experience and expand your culinary palette!
Sarashina soba appears different from most other soba noodles as they are white instead of brown or dark brown. The noodles’ white color is because these noodles are not made with a lot of buckwheat flour like the others, but rather the endosperm of buckwheat seeds (the middle of the buckwheat).
The white, thin noodles are high-quality, exhibiting a delicate aroma and a subtle sweetness. Sarashina pair well with rich broths.
In stark contrast to sarashina soba, inaka soba noodles are dark in color and have a much stronger buckwheat flavor. They are also thicker than sarashina kind and are made by grinding unhulled buckwheat seeds into a coarse flour. This results in a thicker noodle without the need for an added thickening agent called Tsunagi.
In the United States, most menus that say “soba noodles” refer to Nihachi soba, which is the most basic variety of soba noodles. These noodles are made using 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour. The addition of the wheat flour makes the noodles smoother yet preserves the flavor of the buckwheat.
One of the most popular varieties of soba noodles in Japan, juwari soba is made using only buckwheat flour. This makes the noodles very hard and chewy. High-quality juwari soba made without additives is delicious, with a rustic, nutty, earthy flavor. These noodles are also a good source of protein and do not have any cholesterol or fat.
These distinctive kind is blended with matcha green tea. Cha means green tea in Japanese. In addition to the buckwheat flavor, the noodles are accented with a subtle scent and flavor of green tea. There are different varieties of cha soba, some containing much more matcha than others, giving them a more robust green tea flavor. You can enjoy this kind both cold or hot.
Premium Soba from Hokkaido
Finding all of these varieties of soba noodles other than Nihachi Soba in the United States can be difficult, even if you have Japanese or Asian supermarkets in the area. However, you can order some of them and premium soba from Hokkaido online. Yamamoto Kajino is one of the producers of juwari soba in Hokkaido, and their brand uses only premium buckwheat flour for a superior flavor. If you want to enjoy the depth of flavors and best quality of soba noodles, try these to taste the purest form of soba noodles, try these juwari soba noodles. They are easy to make and enjoy with mentsuyu dipping sauce or assorted garnishes such as scallions and wasabi.
If you are lucky enough to have a Japanese restaurant nearby that serves some of these different soba noodles, definitely give them a try. Then, after purchasing your favorite type online, try making some to enjoy at home! There are plenty of ways to enjoy soba noodles, both hot and cold. And because they are always easy to prepare, you can have a healthy, flavorful Japanese meal within minutes.