What Are Soba Noodles?

Slurping noodles is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And Japanese noodles are some of the best noodles to slurp. And soba is one of the best Japanese noodles. So, if you want to maximize the pleasure in your life, I suggest slurping some soba. But what are soba noodles made of? What do soba noodles taste like? Let’s get the straight facts on soba!

What are soba noodles made of?

Soba is a type of thin, Japanese noodle, made of buckwheat. The name buckwheat can be a little misleading because there’s not any actual wheat in buckwheat. It’s not quite a grain—though it has grain-ish seeds. The buckwheat plant is a flowering plant that’s actually closely related to the rhubarb plant. 

Are soba noodles gluten free?

So, does that mean that soba noodles are gluten free? Not exactly. Buckwheat by itself is pretty hard to work with and bind into noodles. You can find some very fresh soba that’s made entirely out of buckwheat but it must be eaten fast or it can fall apart. Pure buckwheat soba is called juwari. Most soba includes some wheat as a binder. The most common type is called nihachi soba and it has an 80/20 ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour. So, if you’re following a gluten free diet, be sure to check the ingredient label on your soba noodles before slurping them down. 

Are soba noodles vegetarian? Are soba noodles vegan?

Most soba noodles are vegan, though some specialty soba include some egg, making them vegetarian not vegan. Any vegans or vegetarians ordering soba at a restaurant may need to ask about ingredients as soba is often served with animal products. A popular cold soba dish called mori or zaru soba is served with a dipping sauce that contains bonito flakes. A popular hot version, kake soba, is served in a bonito broth as well. Bonito is made from fish.

How to cook soba noodles?

If you want to cook soba noodles, all you need is a pot of boiling water, just like you would use to cook spaghetti. But set a timer for about three minutes because soba is much less forgiving than Italian pasta. Overcooked soba tends to fall apart. Also, don’t overstuff your pot. Leave plenty of room for those soba strands to boil so as to avoid clumping. After you drain the soba, run the noodles under cold water or dunk them in an ice bath. This will help them retain their integrity. I wish that worked for people too. I could use some integrity. 

What do soba noodles taste like?

Okay so you’ve read enough about soba noodles and now you want to try some. What exactly do they taste like? Soba noodles have a subtle nutty flavor and a slightly unexpected heft for such thin noodles. It’s just like they always say, you can’t judge a noodle by its thickness.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *