Zaru Soba, An Amazing Summer Meal

Zaru Soba, An Amazing Summer Meal

I’ve been freelancing now for a couple weeks, and what I’ve noticed is that I have a lot more time to enjoy simple things. For example, I was reading about this delicious cold soba recipe over on Salt & Fat, realized I didn’t want to attempt making it for myself just yet, so I had to find some here in Los Angeles. Thankfully my favorite Japanese restaurant in L.A., Itacho, made some, so I went over there and ate the deliciousness you see above.

For those who aren’t familiar though, I thought I’d give a brief background on what I actually ate. Soba, which means buckwheat in Japanese, is usually thought of as a thin noodle made from buckwheat, thicker noodles are called udon. Since it’s summer, I chose to get cold noodles, so Itacho prepares a zaru soba, which is soba noodles topped with finely chopped seaweed. A zaru, is kind of like a japanese colander, which can also be used as a way to present the noodles. Note, it’s also used as a slang term for an alcoholic.

My soba was also served with a quail egg, which tasted sweeter to me, as well as wasabe, green onions and yamaimo, which is like a mountain potato. This came with a small bowl of soba tsuyu, which you can partially see in the left corner. I honestly wasn’t familiar with how to eat my zaru soba, so I asked the waitress and she told me to mix the egg, wasabe, green onion and yamaimo into the broth to my liking, then dip the noodles into broth and enjoy. This was a bit scary at first, I didn’t want to screw it up, but it ended up being super easy. Honestly it kind of tasted like eggs and bacon at first, but with a bit more wasabe it had a flavor all it’s own.

I don’t like to mention the price of things on the site, I feel like it detracts from the conversation, but for only $8 this was a delicious and beautifully served meal that I can’t wait to enjoy again. Hopefully this inspires some of you to try it as well.


July 13, 2011