Udon vs Soba: What Is The Difference?

Who doesn’t enjoy a bowl of Japanese noodles? Noodles are a important in Japanese cuisine that each is eaten hot or chilled. These noodles are frequently served as chilled noodles with dipping sauces, as well as in soups and hot meals. Japan is a country who loves noodles, which are a staple of daily life in the country, whether it’s for a light lunch or a special dish for a religious celebration. Noodles is part of the Japanese diet.

There are a lot of variety of Japanese noodles. Today, we will talk about the two favorite Japanese noodles, Udon and Soba. We will learn more about the difference between udon and soba noodles.

Udon vs Soba

Udon Noodles

Udon Noodles

Brief Overview

Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle prominent in Japanese cuisine. For many Japanese folks, it is a comfort dish. It can be made and served in various methods. In its most basic form, kake udon is served hot with a light broth made from dashi, soy sauce, and mirin known as kakejiru. Udon is frequently topped with scallions that have been lightly chopped. Prawn tempura, kakiage (mixed tempura fritter), abura-age (sweet, deep-fried tofu pouches), kamaboko (sliced fish cake), and shichimi spice to taste are all popular toppings.

The standard broth varies depending on the area. In eastern Japan, dark (koikuchi) soy sauce is used, while light (usukuchi) soy sauce is used in the west. Instant noodles, for example, are sometimes produced in two (or more) forms.


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Stir-fried yaki udon and curry udon made using Japanese curry are two more uncommon varieties. It is popular in Japanese dish, such as shabu shabu.


Origin Of Udon Noodles

There are numerous tales about the origins of udon.

According to one story, Enni, a Rinzai monk, brought flour milling technology from Song China to Japan in 1241. In Japan, floured crops were turned into noodles like udon, soba, and pancakes, which were consumed by the residents. Techniques for milling were disseminated across the country.

According to another story, a Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China was introduced to 14 different food products during the Nara period. One of them was sakubei, which was referred to as muginawa in Shinsen Jikyo, a dictionary produced during the Heian Period. Many types of Japanese noodles are thought to have originated on Muginawa. But, the Muginawa in Shinsen jikyo was preoduced with wheat and rice flour.

According to another udon tale, the noodle’s original name was konton, which was prepared with wheat flour and sweet fillings.

Another story says that during the Heian Era, a Buddhist priest named Kukai introduced udon noodles to Shikoku. Around the beginning of the ninth century, Buddhist priest Kukai journeyed to Tang Dynasty China to study. Sanuki Province claimed to be the first to adopt Kukai’s udon noodles.


Taste

Udon noodles are tasty when they are stir-fried with vegetables and meat, or deep-fried into crunchy noodle snacks. Udon noodles can be eaten in a hot broth as a noodle soup, or in a thick curry sauce or served cold with a dipping sauce. It has a creamy white appearance and is usually dense.

These thick noodles have a mild flavor and chewy texture as compared to their buckwheat counterparts. Udon noodles go with practically all broths and tastes due to their neutral flavor, allowing for unlimited alternatives.

The flavor and consistency of udon noodles varies depending on where you eat them in Japan. Kagawa prefecture is the most famous destination to try udon noodles, which are recognized for being chewy and springy. Kagawa is known as the home of udon, and visitors come from all across Japan to savor the noodles.


Varieties of Udon Noodles

Kake Udon

It’s a bowl of hot udon in broth with thinly sliced green onions and maybe a slice of kamaboko on top.

This type of udon noodles is tasty and best served in udon soup. Kake udon is created from soy sauce, sake, kekejiru stock of dashi, and mirin. The noodle soup is served with freshly grated ginger and green onions in a boiling broth.

Yaki Udon

After the Pacific War, Yaki udon was originated in Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan.

Yaki udon is a Japanese stir fried udon noodles that are thick, smooth. The white noodles is mixed with meat, commonly pork, vegetables, and soy based sauce. It is comparable to yakisoba, which uses ramen noodles style in a similar stir fry approach. Yaki udon is a popular late-night snack at Japan’s izakaya, or bars and clubs, and is very easy to cook.

The noodles are thick and with a choice of vegetables and protein. The delicious soy and mirin sauce adhere to the Udon noodles, resulting in a wonderfully gratifying sip-worthy dish. Bamboo shoots, wilted greens, and mushrooms make a delicious combination.

Kitsune Udon

Known as the Fox udon. The plump noodles is topped with aburaage, a deep-fried, sweet tofu pouches in boiling soup stock of mirin, dashi, and soy. The dish originated in Osaka, Japan. Kitsune udon is frequently confused with Tanuki udon.

Tanuki Udon

Also known as Haikara udon. Tempura batter pieces and a bit of seaweed, and slices of kamaboko are placed on top of the noodles. You can consume it hot or enjoy the chilled version.

Tempura Udon

Tempura, particularly prawn, or kakiage, a type of mixed tempura fritter, are served on top of the noodles.

This delicious hot broth meal is filled with glossy Udon noodles and crispy tempura fried shrimp or veggies, depending on your tastes. Mirin, soy sauce, and dashi are used in the broth, and you can increase the dark salty flavor by increasing the soy sauce.

Stamina Udon

Another type of Udon noodles is the delightful, robust, and tasty Stamina Udon. Protein, veggies, raw eggs, and a tsuyu dipping sauce are served alongside udon noodles.

Curry Udon

Also known as Kare nanban. This modern udon is served in a hot curry-flavored soup with meat or veggies on the side. The name nanban refers to the Nanban trade, which affected Japanese society for a century before the Edo Shogunate outlawed it in 1639. Biei, Hokkaido, is well-known for its curry udon.

The thick and chewy Udon noodle is mixed in a sauce made with dashi stock, curry roux, and your choice of vegetables or protein. This late-night snack also gets a boost of savory flavor from chopped onion and scallions.

Zaru Udon

These chilled noodles are topped with shredded nori and served on a zaru, a bamboo tray that looks like a sieve. A chilly dipping sauce, usually a strong blend of dashi, mirin, and soy sauce, is served alongside.

Chilled Zaru udon is perfect for hot summertime when soup isn’t an option. Udon noodles are adorned with everything from sesame seeds to nori, wasabi paste, and daikon radish, and served cold in a mentsuyu soup base.


Ingredients Of Udon Noodles

Wheat flour, water, and salt are used to make udon noodles. These contents are mixed together to form a dough, which is then flattened out and cut into thick strips. Udon can be created in a variety of shapes, including square, wide and thin, round, and other variations.


Soba Noodles

Soba Noodles

Brief Overview

Soba is a type of Japanese thin noodles made from buckwheat flour. This type of buckwheat noodles can be eaten cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a noodle soup. However, the Nagano soba variety includes wheat flour.

Soba noodles can be found in a range of places in Japan, ranging from fast food to high-end Japanese restaurants. To make home preparation easier, Japanese supermarkets provide dried noodles and men-tsuyu, or quick noodle broth. Soba has a nutty flavor and it is usually sold dried. Dried soba noodles are similar to flat spaghetti and range in color from dark brown to light beige.

These noodles can be used in a variety of meals, both hot and cold in the winter and summer.


Origin Of Soba Noodles

The culture of eating soba noodles dates back to the Tokugawa era, also known as the Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868. Every neighborhood had one or two soba establishments, many of which also served sake, that functioned similarly to modern cafes where locals would stop for a casual meal during the Tokugawa period. The Edo (now Tokyo) community, which was significantly wealthier than the rural poor at the time, was more prone to beriberi as a result of their heavy intake of white rice, which is deficient in thiamine. It was observed that eating thiamine-rich soba on a daily basis could prevent beriberi.

Some restaurants, particularly those that are less expensive and more casual, may provide both soba and udon because they are often prepared in the same way. For Tokyo residents, soba is the preferred noodle.


Taste

Buckwheat Soba noodles have a nutty flavor that makes them an excellent salad component. Soba tastes great cold. They are also delicious hot, and they are excellent in soups or stir-fried with everything from wilted bok choi to a fresh fried egg. Soba is popular since it is one of the healthiest noodle options.


Varieties of Soba Noodles

YakiSoba Noodles

YakiSoba, also known as fried noodle in Japan, is a noodle stir-fry meal. Soba usually refers to buckwheat, however in yakisoba, soba refers to Chinese noodles, Chuuka soba, produced from wheat flour and flavored with a seasoning comparable to Worcestershire sauce. Around the 1930s, the dish began to appear at Japanese food stalls.

Zaru Soba Noodles

Cold soba noodles is frequently served on a zaru, a sieve-like bamboo tray with chunks of dried nori seaweed and a dipping sauce known as soba tsuyu on the side. Tsuyu is a thick sauce created from dashi, sweetened soy sauce (also known as “satjyu”), and mirin.

Kake Soba Noodles

Hot soba in broth with thinly sliced scallion and a slice of kamaboko or fish cake, if desired. The stock is often produced using dried bonito flakes, kelp, and nioboshi, but there are several variations available.

Tempura Soba Noodles

A giant shrimp is commonly used as a tempura topping, but veggies are also popular. Many people prefer this meal with tiger prawns, but it also works well with tofu tempura or aubergine.

Kitsune Soba Noodles

Also known as Fox soba or Tanuki Soba. Kitsune Soba is a delightful and comforting buckwheat noodle soup that will satisfy your late-night hunger. The Soba noodles are surrounded by a flavorful broth made from dried kombu, kelp, or shiitake mushrooms, and the whole bowl is topped with Topped with aburaage or deep-fried tofu.

Tsukimi Soba Noodles

Known as the moon-viewing soba, this buckwheat noodles is topped with raw egg, which poaches in the heated soup.

Yamakake Soba Noodles

Also known as Tororo soba. The buckwheat noodles is topped with tororo, the puree of yamaimo.

Oroshi Soba Noodles

Oroshi Soba is an aromatic chilled soup that incorporates some of your favorite inspired Japanese flavors. This meal features nori, ginger, daikon, radish, bonito flakes, green onion, and shitake mushrooms.


Health Benefits Of Soba Noodles

Buckwheat flour, the main component in soba noodles, has a myriad of health advantages, including vital elements like vitamin B, fiber, and iron. Soba noodles are said to be restorative and energizing in Japan.

The caloric content of 100 grams of cooked soba is 99 kcal. Soba has all nine essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in normal wheat. Soba is made up of a type of polysaccharide that is simple to digest. Antioxidants like rutin and quercetin are also present.


Where Can You Find Soba and Udon Noodles?

These popular Japanese noodles can be found at almost every noodle store in Japan. Depending on the area, noodle dishes in Japan can be quite diverse.

Summary

When it comes to the colors, Soba noodles is brown, whereas Udon noodles is glossy and white. The taste of Udon is a milder, making it a versatile addition to your favorite Japanese meal. Soba has its own distinct flavor, which is slightly nutty. Udon uses wheat flour for its thick, springy and chewy texture, whilst Soba uses buckwheat flour for its somewhat firm and dense texture. The shape and size of the noodles in Soba are small, long, thin, just like a spaghetti, whereas Udon has a thick and large noodles, and it can be square, or flat.

Conclusion

With that said, both Soba an Udon are really tasty and can definitely satisfy all of your cravings. It’s nice to enjoy them with family or friends.