Welcome to our last summer B-Kyu Gurume blog post of the year, Zo fans! Today, we’re going to introduce you to Okinawa Soba.
Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, comprised of 160 islands, and the name of the largest island in the geographical collection. If you’re planning a visit to Japan in the future, you definitely want to try and visit this subtropical climate known for its white sand, magnificent beaches, undersea life and tropical jungles. After snorkeling amongst an amazing array of coral, we recommend ending your day by grabbing a delicious bowl of Okinawa Soba.
In this region, there is a saying that translates as, “One who eats plain food is healthy”. Fun fact: Okinawa’s residents live to be some of the oldest people in the world! One of the reasons for this is their tendency to consume low-calorie, high carbohydrate food such as the soba they are so famous for. Japanese soba is made with buckwheat flour while Okinawan soba is made with wheat flour. The flat, broad and wavy noodles are paired with an assortment of proteins, such as tofu, pork, and/or vegetables, all served in a flavorful broth topped with green onions, fish cakes, fish paste, pickled ginger, and egg.
The first recorded mention of the dish was in 1902, but it was not popularized until the 1960s. What might have once been considered street food is now enjoyed across all classes and in all communities of the city, served in a traditional pot and eaten with chopsticks. Okinawa Soba is ultimate Japanese soul food, a noodle soup packed with umami goodness.
If you’re curious on how you might be able to make this famous dish at home, here is a great recipe for you to learn the ropes:
And if you’re visiting Japan, here are three places where you can eat Okinawa Soba when you’re in town:
- Doraemon is a five-minute walk from the Kenchomae station’s monorail. They have a hint of dashi broth and are known for simple and authentic soba.
- Shuri Horikawa is famous for their elegant presentation, which is a departure from what people think of when they think of this comfort food. The noodles are cooked right after they are ordered, so they take a little longer to make than other establishments but are said to be worth the wait.
- Yanbaru Soba is about fifteen minutes from Okinawa’s famous Churaumi Aquarium. Their exterior is incredibly plain with no frills, but there is generally a line to experience their famous dish.