Soba—Japanese buckwheat noodles—are firmer and nuttier-tasting than egg, rice, or wheat noodles, says Silverjay. The more buckwheat, the nuttier, more distinct, and better they taste. “Most are made with some rice or wheat flour to keep together. These binders make the noodles taste blander or at least more generic,” says Silverjay. “Good ‘tsuyu’ or soba dipping sauce, can take soba to higher heights, but it is essentially a simple food based on texture more than flavor.”
Handmade soba noodles (teuichi soba), ground from scratch on a piece of proper buckwheat milling equipment, “just cannot be beat and has a slurpalicious texture,” says K K. Freshly handmade soba noodles and dried soba are like night and day.
HLing, fed up with trying to get a genuine soba experience at a restaurant, has been making his own soba noodles from scratch. The process of “grinding the groats with a traditional stone Quern manually (and yes, the slowness of the rotation is a must for good buckwheat flour), making and cutting the dough, cooking and eating the noodles…one step after another” is essential to the experience, says HLing. The freshly made noodles are incomparable, and leftover noodles even a day later lose some of their “slurp-ability.” And “there’s something to be said about physically interacting with the production of your food that puts you in the center of the eating experience where you are not busy judging, or criticizing, but just right there eating as is,” says HLing. “It’s a different place.”