Soba Noodle Soup

Soba noodles are a staple in Japanese cuisine, and some even consider them to be the national food of Japan. These thin, brown, flour-based noodles are made from buckwheat and wheat flour and are usually topped with a cold dipping sauce or served in a soup.

A brief history of soba noodles

Soba noodles have been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries. The exact origins of soba are unknown, but it is thought that they were first introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks from China. Soba noodles became popular in Edo period Japan (1603-1868), and were often eaten as a quick snack or light meal. They are traditionally made from buckwheat flour, but nowadays, a little whole-wheat flour can be added to top the noodles from deteriorating. 

What do soba noodles taste like?

Soba noodles have an earthy, nutty taste due to being made with buckwheat flour so they are normally paired with fresher and lighter flavours. Like spring onions, nori and cucumber. 

Where are soba noodles made?

Akagi Dried Soba Noodles, 270g

These soba noodles are made in the Gunma Prefecture in central Japan, an area famous for its climate, abundant water and quality of wheat. 'Akagi' named itself after the highest mountain in the district.

Hot vs Cold Soba Noodles

When it comes to soba noodles, there are two schools of thought: those who prefer them cold, and those who prefer them hot. Typically cold soba noodles are more common but no matter what your preference is, the key to the perfect bowl of soba noodles is in the dipping sauce. 

For cold soba noodles, we recommend a soy-based sauce. For hot soba noodles, we recommend a chilli-based sauce. Second, you'll need some fresh vegetables and a protein source. Third, you'll need your choice of garnish, either some spring onions for garnish, sesame seeds or nori.

How to prepare a hot soba noodle dish 

Simply bring your favourite broth to a boil and add the soba noodles. Cook for a minute or two, then add your favourite vegetables and meat. Remove from heat and let sit for another minute or two. Serve with your favourite toppings and enjoy!

How to prepare a cold soba noodle dish

Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions then drain and rinse the noodles with cold water. Top with shredded nori, spring onion and diced cucumber. Pour a cold dipping sauce over the top, then serve with chopsticks.

Exciting Recipes Using Soba Noodles

Tempura soup

Tempura prawn and red miso soup with soba noodles.

This dish is the perfect mid-week dinner. The vegetables and soba noodles are cooked in one pan with miso broth to keep things simple. Before topping with tempura prawns.

Frequently asked questions

Is soba same as ramen?

Most people think that soba and ramen noodles are the same things. But while they may be similar, there are some key differences that set them apart. For one, soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, whereas ramen noodles are made with wheat flour. This gives soba noodles a nuttier flavour and a slightly coarser texture. 

What is the difference between soba and udon noodles?

Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, whilst udon noodles are made with wheat flour so they don't have the same nutty taste. Soba noodles are also much thinner than udon noodles and flat in shape whereas udon noodles are thicker and much chewier.

Feeling inspired? Looking at our selection of Japanese Noodles to try at home.


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