Soba is delicious. It's popular in Japan, but we hope that someday, it will be just as popular here! Our soba is handmade by chef and artisan soba maker Mutsuko Soma. Buckwheat is a nutritious and delicious seed, not grain, which makes our soba very low in gluten and difficult to make.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Soba?
Soba is a popular buckwheat noodle that can be enjoyed cold or hot. Its traditions originated from the Tokugawa period, when soba consumption became popular after it was discovered that consuming thiamine-rich soba noodles could help fend off beriberi, a range of symptoms caused by thiamine deficiency. Soba noodles are commonly consumed throughout Japan today including special holidays.
What is Buckwheat?
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, but is instead related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. Farmers often use buckwheat as a cover crop used to manage soil erosion and fertility and fend against pest, diseases, and weeds. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of other fertilizers, but a recent resurgence in organic farming and biodynamic farms have brought buckwheat back to the farms. We’re happy to be able to take a underrated secondary crop and turn it into something delicious!
Is Kamonegi's soba gluten free?
Buckwheat is gluten free. The earliest form of soba is made from 100 percent buckwheat, but we use a traditional nihachi ratio of 80 percent buckwheat and 20 percent all purpose flour to ensure that our noodles have a proper yield and buoyancy.
Buckwheat Flour (aka "soba ko")
All purpose flour
Our soba is great for those looking for a low gluten diet. We cook our noodles in unsalted boiling water and use our sauces to flavor the noodles without overshadowing the earthy, nutty taste that buckwheat brings to our noodles.
Is it true that soba is a common hangover food?
From some experiences (not naming names), YES! Soba contains vitamins B1 and B2, several minerals, and twice the amount of proteins found in rice. Unlike noodles made of other grains, buckwheat soba also contains rutin, a bioflavonoid that helps with those suffering from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. Because of this, it is customary to enjoy hot soba-yu, the starchy water that soba is cooked in, added to the leftover dipping sauce to create a soup that warms the stomach and contains added nutrients lost from the cooking process.
How and when is soba eaten?
Soba is eaten year round and very versatile. It can be enjoyed chilled with a dipping sauce on the side (seiro), cold together with garnishes and sauces similar to a noodle salad (bukkake), or in hot broth as a noodle soup (nanban) with a myriad of garnishes and sides - wasabi, grated daikon, green onions, tempura, and various greens and proteins.
Seiro, Nanban and Bukka...wha?
That’s seiro, nanban, and bukkake, the three styles in which soba is commonly consumed. The seiro is a dipping soba where the soba is served chilled on a mat with a warm dipping sauce on the side. The nanban is a hot bowl of noodles with broth and garnish, what people generally regard as a noodle soup. The bukkake is a popular option, and biggest head scratcher. It is a dish of cold noodles in a chilled broth served with a variety of toppings that resembles a noodle salad. Some might know of the word "bukkake" as a sexual terminology but to be clear, the soba dish came first and is far more alluring!
What is the difference between dried soba and Kamonegi's soba?
Dried soba is a convenient and non-perishable option that can be purchased at local Asian markets. Dried soba, made by machine, contains a trace amount of buckwheat compared to freshly made soba, comprised of 80 percent soba flour. Kamonegi's handmade soba is made with more of the good stuff, but its low-gluten, high buckwheat formula makes it highly perishable (so no, we cannot mail it!). Kamonegi's uncooked soba keeps for up to 48-hours under refrigeration, after which the noodles become brittle and fall apart in the cooking water. When prepared fresh, Kamonegi's soba differs in the aroma and texture; it's nutty fragrance and silky, tender noodles that far differ from its dried counterpart. We think you should try it!
Is it difficult to make soba?
In our most humble opinion, yes. Difficult, but not impossible! Soba making involves many artful, rhythmic movements that involves a special feel and sensitivity for moisture in the dough and the air. Once mastered, the soba making process can be a meditative experience and its certainly an interesting process to watch. To request a private demo or class, send us an e-mail!
What is Toshikoshi Soba?
Soba is eaten year round but also especially on New Year's Eve to symbolise luck, prosperity, and health. Toshikoshi soba refers to soba eaten on the evening of New Year's Eve right before families ring in the new year. For more information, read Seattle Met's feature on Kamonegi's toshikoshi soba.
Do you sell your soba noodles regularly?
We sell fresh, uncooked soba noodles on a limited basis for special occasions like toshikoshi soba. For questions or special requests, send us an email. We consider all requests but may not be able to fulfill them!