Soba (そば) are thin brown buckwheat noodles, usually cooked and served with various toppings and condiments. The standard form is kake soba, "soba in broth". Kake soba consists of cooked soba noodles in a bowl of hot broth made of dashi, mirin, and shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and topped with sliced green onions.
In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of situations. They are a popular inexpensive fast food at train stations throughout Japan, they are served by exclusive and expensive specialty restaurants, and they are also made at home. Markets sell instant condensed broth and dried noodles to make home preparation easy. The most famous Japanese soba noodles come from Nagano. Soba from Nagano is called Sinano Soba. Other popular noodles in Japan are udon, ramen, and somen.
Soba is also common throughout the United States, usually served as soba in broth (kake soba) or chilled noodles with nori (zaru soba) in the many Japanese restaurants and sushi restaurants in the country. It is also a common foodstuff sold at American grocery stores (usually in an Asian section).
Common Soba Dishes
Like many Japanese noodles, soba noodles are often served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. Toppings are chosen to reflect the seasons and to balance with other ingredients. Most toppings are added without much cooking.