Soba noodles is a staple food originating from the Edo period and one of my favourites in Japanese cuisine. During this period, it was considered a cheap and fast food that was enjoyed by people of all social classes. Made of buckwheat, Soba noodles are often served with a dipping sauce or in soups and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Though be prepared, in Japan, it is considered polite and good etiquette to slurp your soba noodles! This is because slurping is believed to enhance the flavour of the noodles and show appreciation for the meal.
Soba Osame, run by soba master Kenji Osame is considered one of the best soba-yas in Tokyo at the moment. Chef Osame is known to source buckwheat from various regions across Japan. He uses their unique qualities, based on the local topography and makes for sumptuous, coarsely ground Juwari soba. Travel Japan and you’ll notice how Soba has endless variations, depending on the region.
Alone, or with various toppings, soba can be served in a hot broth, or cold, such as in Zaru Soba, which is presented on a bamboo strainer, usually in summer. Personally, I love cold soba because you can better taste the fine flavour of the buckwheat. As is customary at artisanal establishments like Soba Osame, the master makes and cuts fresh soba every day. Watching master Osame cut soba is almost a meditative experience. Every movement is deliberate and beautiful to watch.