Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Herring soba. Hot soba noodles in a soup with a dried herring. 鰊(にしん)蕎麦。

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are especially popular in eastern Japan, although now they are eaten all over the country. Although in Kyoto (West-Japan) originally udon noodles were more popular, the variant called nishin-soba is a typical Kyoto dish.

Fresh seafood was hard to come by in landlocked Kyoto in the past and herring was brought here from the Japan Sea Coast after drying it, forming an important source of protein.

Such herring was called "migaki nishin": it was made by removing the head and tail of the fish, splitting the body in two and then drying it. Nishin soba is rich in fat and nutrients and is a favorite in Kyoto also for "toshikoshi soba," the soba eaten on New Year's Eve.

[Photo by Ad Blankestijn]