Last night Keiko and I celebrated Japan’s fall buckwheat harvest with a filling and nutritious meal of Soba, a spaghetti-like noodle made of 100 percent gluten-free buckwheat flour that is called Tokyo’s “original fast food.”
Keiko selected a neighborhood family-run sobaya (soba shop) just blocks from our home for my first taste of the city’s time-honored soba culture since moving here last year.
For my soba selection I ordered a bowl of hot broth with slices of duck breast (kamo-nanban) accompanied by warm sake. Keiko opted for tensoba, soba served with seafood tempura.
In addition to healthy and flavorful noodle dishes, the shop also features some first-rate side dishes. We started with an order of succulent fried oysters. (I’ll be back just for the oysters and a beer soon!)
The decision for a soba meal was a health-based choice as we have both been working on diet and conditioning. In my case, I have been steadily losing weight through daily fat-burning health walks/jogs, regular strength workouts, and recently more serious diet adjustments. I plan to be at 82 kg in February 2021.
I love ramen, the signature Japanese noodle dish. Unfortunately, ramen is anything but a healthy meal given that it is a high-sodium, monosodium glutamate-laden dish. But in moderation, oh such an enjoyable eating experience!
In contrast to ramen as well as the thick wheat udon noodles and traditional pasta, Soba noodles are high in nutrients and low in fat and cholesterol with a distinctively nutty and earthy flavor. Soba noodles, served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup are a good source of manganese, fiber, protein and thiamin with many health benefits.
Soba noodles are Tokyo’s original fast food, simple to cook and just as easy to eat. Even at their most basic, they are honest, filling and nutritious. At their best they have a remarkable delicacy and depth of flavor.