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Tasty Travels: Learning To Make Soba Noodles From Scratch In Japan

me soba

Me, learning to make soba in Japan.

I love all carbs, but I’ve always had a special affinity for soba noodles. So you can imagine my excitement when in Izushi, a town known for its rich soba noodle culture and unique way of eating the dish, I was able to learn how to make them. Irusaya Restaurant (98-10Uchimachi), once a traditional Japanese house, was the location of the class, which involved finger-mixing 80% buckwheat flour, 20% wheat flour and water, kneading it, cutting it to a mere 1.2 millimeters thick and boiling it to create the delicious healthy noodles high in protein and low in calories, beloved by locals and visitors alike. What’s vital during this process is to make sure the ingredient proportions are accurate for the weather conditions. For example, if you make soba noodles on a very humid day and then make them on a very dry day the amount of water to flour will — or at least should — vary.

soba noodle

The soba master holding up the perfect soba noodle. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

What’s interesting about Izushi’s soba culture is it’s prepared, served and eaten differently than in other parts of Japan. For example, in Izushi soba is served cold rather than hot, and on many small locally-made ceramic plates rather than large dishes. When it comes time to eat the soba, one starts with a salty soba sauce base and can choose to add yam puree, minced green onion and wasabi, or a raw egg to create a dipping sauce for the noodles. At the end of the meal, the hot water used to boil the soba is added to the sauce to be drank as a digestive soup. Getting to actually make the soba and be guided through the eating process was a unique cultural experience. Bonus: Right across the street at Kano Farm they sell buckwheat soba ice cream, made from scratch with their own cow’s milk.

To reserve this experience, you can have your hotel call +81-796-21-9016 or kankou@city.toyooka.lg.jp.

Have you had a Japanese cooking class experience of your own? Please share in the comments below.

My trip to Japan’s Kansai Region was sponsored by the Japan National Tourism Organization. I was not required to write this post nor was I compensated for it. All opinions are 100% my own.

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4 Comments

  1. Nichelle on October 10, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I have attended cooking classes before and I really kneading a bit exhausting. It’s one of the things I love less in cooking.

    • jess2716 on October 10, 2014 at 5:36 am

      @Nichelle: Oh, I feel you. Some steps are definitely not fun!

  2. Franca on February 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I absolutely love soba noodle and it was one of our favourite option during our trip to Japan, I would have loved to learn how to make them by myself. Next time! 🙂

    • jess2716 on February 7, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Franca: It’s a must! 🙂

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