Izumo Soba (出雲そば) is a famous soba dish from Shimane Prefecture (Chugoku Region).
Izumo soba is made with whole buckwheat flour, and is served/eaten in two ways — “Wariko soba” or “Kamaage soba”.
Wariko soba is the more famous version, and consists of three bowls of soba layered on top of each other.
“Izumo” (出雲) is an area in the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture, and is where the dish originated from.
Read on for more interesting info about izumo soba:
The main ingredients of Izumo Soba are:
Izumo soba noodles are made with whole buckwheat flour (i.e. the core is not separated from the shell). This gives the noodles a darker color than other non whole grain soba noodles. It is typically eaten in one of two ways:
Wariko Soba is served with various condiments (green onions, grated daikon, etc.), dashi, and soba-yu (i.e. water that was used to cook soba).
Kamaage Soba is also served with various condiments and seasonings that the customer can adjust to his own tastes.
Location / Where to Eat
Izumo City is located in the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture. The climate and geology of Shimane is suitable for growing buckwheat, so it has been a staple product there for many generations.
There are many restaurants in Izumo that serve Izumo Soba, so you will definitely come across one if you are in town. There is actually an official Izumo Soba Association which lists 17 soba restaurants in the area.
History / Origin of Izumo Soba
Soba noodles were originally brought to the Izumo region via Shinshu (i.e. present day Nagano) during the Edo period.
In 1638, a lord by the name of Naomasa Matsudaira was transferred from Shinshu to Izumo, and he brought with him a soba craftsman. This is how soba noodles were first introduced to the area. 1https://www.sobahonda.co.jp/blog/izumosoba-history/
Soba quickly spread and became a popular food throughout Izumo thanks to the abundance of buckwheat that was already being cultivated there.
Wariko style soba was originally created as a type of soba lunchbox (i.e soba bento) that was easy to carry around and travel with. Originally, traditional square wooden containers were used. They were difficult to clean though, and eventually round lacquered dishes were used.
Kamaage style soba was initially created from a food stall as a way to serve a large number of worshippers that came to Izumo Taisha Shrine every year. Regular soba noodles are washed with water after being boiled, but at food stalls, it was not possible to wash noodles every time. So, the noodles were simply boiled and served together with the water in bowls. Dipping sauce and seasonings were provided to adjust to individual’s taste.
How to eat Izumo Soba
Izumo soba is traditionally eaten and served in one of two ways: Wariko style or Kamaage style
Wariko Soba (割子そば)
Wariko soba is served in three round lacquered bowls stacked on top of each other. The bowls contain just the soba noodles; condiments, toppings, and soup are served on the side.
Here are the steps to properly enjoy Wariko soba:
- Stack the bowls on top of each other and sprinkle the condiments on top of the first layer of soba noodles.
2. Pour the tsuyu or dashi seasoning over the top and eat the first layer (adjust the amount of seasoning to your liking).
3. When you’re done eating the first bowl, pour the remaining soup over the second layer move the empty bowl to the bottom of the stack. Sprinkle the seasonings on the second layer, add soup, and enjoy. Repeat the process for the 3rd bowl.
4. Wariko soba also comes with soba-yu (water used to cook the soba noodles). It contains a lot of vitamins and nutrients from the soba. You can enjoy it as is, or add it together with your noodles.
Kamaage Soba (釜揚げそば)
Simply add seasoning and soba soup to your preferences, and enjoy!
- Izumo Soba is one of the “big 3 soba dishes” in Japan. The other two are Wanko soba from Iwate Prefecture, and Togakushi Soba from Nagano Prefecture
- February 11th is “Izumo Soba Day”
Have you ever tried Izumo soba before? What did you think of it?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!