Tonight, Nana and I went out for soba, one of our favorite Japanese foods, at a noodle shop down the street from our place.
Soba is a thin buckwheat noodle that can be served either hot or cold. It packs a lot of flavor, even when unseasoned, and has the most fiber of any Japanese noodle style.
The simplest cold soba (mori soba) is basically a pile of noodles on a plate, which you dip in an icy broth (tsuyu) of sweetened soy sauce, seaweed stock, and rice wine--flavored with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and scallions to taste.
Eating cold soba noodles is a real test of one's chopstick chops. Here's Nana's technique, demonstrated on a plate of zaru soba (cold soba with seaweed):
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There are also a variety of hot soba dishes, which usually take the form of a big bowl of soup. I picked one at random and ended up with the standard soba-noodles-in-soy-broth with a topping of some kind of pickled vegetable (Nana guessed rapeseed) and flavoured with a bit of lemon peel.
The result was delicious, and totally unexpected! That dash of lemon, plus the bitterness of the pickle, gave the ol' soy broth a whole new flavor. Yum!