A midnight bowl of soba to welcome 2015

Diary of an Okinawa Soba Addict #1 – Den Soba Review

All around Japan right now people are about to tuck into a bowl of soba noodles to bring luck and prosperity in the new year. Long noodles not only for long life but also for the continuation of all the good things that happened the previous year. However, compared to the rest of Japan, the soba being eaten in Okinawa is quite different.

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Our homemade Okinawa Soba for New Years 2015

Our homemade Okinawa Soba for New Years!Anyone that has visited Okinawa will have no doubt tried the ‘national’ dish of Okinawa Soba (沖縄そば).  Soft wheat noodles (unlike the buckwheat noodles of mainland Japan) in a bonito and pork stock-based soup topped with slow cooked pork belly or ribs.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s simple, hearty soul food at its best.

To share my love of Okinawa soba I’ll be writing reviews of some of the best and worst places to eat Okinawa’s national dish.  And, to kick things off, I’m starting with what is definitely one of the best bowls of Okinawa Soba out there.

Diary of an Okinawa Soba Addict #1 – Den Soba Review

IMG_0108Den Soba (田そば) is in Naha and for years it was my local soba ya.  Den Soba attracts both locals and tourists alike – thanks to a number of positive write ups in Okinawa tour guides – and finding a seat can be pretty difficult most lunchtimes.

The broth is distinctly brown in colour and somewhat richer than most other soba ya, with the bonito umami clearly shining through. The noodles are definitely hand made and are soft yet still firm with just enough bite.  But the hero of a bowl of Den Soba soba has to be the meat.  Their signature dish (pictured below) comes with two pieces of tender, juicy, slow-cooked pork – from locally raised Okinawan Agu pigs – one belly (san mai niku 三枚肉) and one loin – with the option to add a third in the form of pork ribs (soki ソーキ). If you’re really hungry try a large bowl of soki soba and see how you go…  And don’t forget to order some fuchiba herbs, which give the soba some freshness and a slight bitterness that offsets the sweetness of the meat really well.

Den Soba: star-full-24star-full-24star-full-24star-full-24star-half-24

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Den Soba

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