Fast food restaurants
I have learned from a magazine recently that the price of Big Mac in Japan is the cheapest in the world due to current depreciation of Japanese Yen. The price is 280 YEN, equivalent to about US$ 2.36. How about the price in your country? More expensive or less?
Thus, you may find a lot of fast food restaurants where you can enjoy a wide variety of food at very reasonable prices even in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka nowadays.
In Japan, fast food restaurants came up in the 16th century in Edo, or Tokyo. In those days, the population of male was 320.000, while female was 190.000, meaning male-dominated society. Because many single men came up to Edo, newly developing city, trying to find their new jobs and to settle down. They often took meals in restaurants or stalls before or after their work, in the afternoon, evening or at night.
Such snack eateries sold to quick eaters a wide variety of prepared meals including roasted bean curds, boiled arum roots & lotus roots, boiled beans, sashimi, udon noodles, buckwheat noodles, eels and so on. Especially among short order shops, buckwheat noodles were the most popular, having over 3700 outlets in Edo.
My favorite food as regular lunch is soba, buckwheat noodles. After you go through this article, you may know why I never miss it every day for lunch. Then, you may feel like to try it once for experience.
What is Soba?
Soba's ingredients are flour and thickerners such as eggs mixed in soba flour. It is inexpensive, but rich in nourishment. To say nutritionally, soba contains Rutin, one type of porihunoru. An adequate adult’s intake of Rutin per day is said to be about 30 mg. Surprisingly, soba per serving (100g) contains 100mg Rutin. Rutin's power has a wide variety of efficacy including reinforcement of capillary vessels, reduction of blood pressure, activation of pancreas, and protection & activation of memory cells. Soba is also rich in vegetable fibers. In addition, it contains protein which is rich in amino acid.
How will Soba be served?
Broadly speaking, we have three serving ways of soba; 掛け蕎麦 or Kake-soba consist of a bowl of the noodles only in hot broth, or together with various other ingredients such as vegetables, eggs, aburaage, (deep-fried tofu) or meat. The broth is made from soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake),sugar, and stock.
盛り蕎麦 or Mori-soba
Mori-soba is the most popular form of cold soba. Only soba is served on a bamboo rack in a lacquer box, with a small bowl of broth and a small dish of chopped negi (spring onion) and wasabi (Japanese horseradish). The condiments should be mixed into the broth and the noodles dipped into the mixture before eating.
ざる蕎麦 or Zaru-soba
Zaru-soba is exactly the same as mori-soba except that it is topped with thin strips of nori (dried seaweed), making it slightly more expensive and combining delicacies from mountains and seas.
What kind of dishes will be used when eating soba?
徳利 Tokkuri or flask contains蕎麦汁 Soba-tsuyu or soy-based broth.
Soba-tsuyu is soy-based broth, seasoned with soup made of boiled and dried bonito, sardine, mackerel flesh, having plenty of body.
湯桶 Yuto is a wooden
Yuto is a wooden, often square, lacquered container. Some of the hot broth in which the soba was boiled is placed in it and served to customers who have eaten morisoba or zaru-soba. This broth, called sobayu, should be mixed with the remaining broth into which the soba was dipped, and drunk.
蒸篭 Seiro or Bamboo colander
Seiro or Bamboo colander is made of bamboo rack in a lacquered box on which soba is served and also works as drainer of water to cool boiled soba and as container to shape a good-looking heap.
What condiments will be served for Soba to enjoy its taste more?
Wasabi or Japanese horseradish is native to Japan, Japanese traditional condiment. It grows naturally in glens or streams in mountains. Its root is grated and used as a spice.
It has been used with food for unknown reason since early 8th century. It has a distinctively sharp taste, fragrance to be created at the time of grating and disinfectant effect. It is always served with mori and zaru-soba. Wasabi enhance absorption of Vitamin B2 contained in soba, disinfecting and increasing appetite.
Negi, or spring onion, is favored for their sharp , clean taste and smell. They are used with both hot and cold soba. Allyl sulfide contained in negi enhances efficacy of Vitamin B1 very much and is volatile, so it will be served soon after being chopped up. Absorption of Vitamin B1 of soba will be enhanced through negi. Recovery of weariness, feeling of cold and weak liver power will be strengthened through the combination with soba. In addition, Negi has efficacy to warm up body so activate function of bowel and blood circulation.
Daikon, or Japanese radish, is refreshing, soft and pleasant to the taste. Diastase of Japanese radish increases appetite and promote digestion. It has an efficacy to prevent food poisoning. Vitamin P contained in parts near skins strengthen blood vessels which prevent hypertension and hemorrhage in the brain, coupled with the same efficacy of soba. Vitamin C, contained in grated radish is in a very small quantity, prevents blood veins from being breakable. It is very recommendable for senior people.
What's table manner of Soba?
First, eat a dash of soba so that you can know its peculiarity and taste. After checking whether taste of broth is sweet or hot, you can know how much you will dip soba in it. Don't pour the broth into your cup at one time. Gradually fill up to keep the same concentration. Don't put all of condiments in a cup at the same time, not spoiling the taste of broth. Between eating soba, take negi and wasabi to your mouth direct. If you want to enjoy the flavor, you apply wasabi on soba. Remained condiments will be taken together with soba-yu, hot water in which soba has been boiled. Don't dip soba in soba-tsuyu immersively if you want to enjoy the flavor and sweetness.If soba is eaten quietly, soba doesn’t taste good. Try to slurp soba lively, "Zzzzzzz", without any hesitation. It is recommendable for you not to chew whiter soba so much, and chew black soba well in order to enjoy its flavor.
Why do I have Soba lunch everyday?
I used to overweigh, suffering from adult diseases including high blood pressure and high levels of neutral fat in my blood. At the time of the health examination one year and half ago, a woman doctor advised me to lose weigh at once if I would like to live long. Following her advice, I determined to walk 10.000 steps a day and to have soba lunch every day, with weighing myself in the morning and counting steps by pedometer. Wow!! thanks to soba and walking, I lost weigh by 8Kg and got successful result of the last health examination. Soba symbolizes long life, because it is long in shape.
How about trying to eat Soba for your health and longevity?