21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Referred to simply as soba or as suba in many local dialects, Okinawa soba is a type of noodle soup produced in Okinawa and is considered a fundamental element of traditional Okinawan culture. It is suggested the origin of Okinawa soba dates back to the Ryukyu Kingdom which existed between the 15th and 19th centuries, when Chinese delegates possibly brought wheat noodles to the royal court. While soba in Japanese means buckwheat, in particular buckwheat noodles, Okinawa soba is soba in name only as it is made entirely from wheat. The thick wheat noodles used in Okinawa soba resemble udon, while the soup is more similar to that of ramen. It is served in a tasty broth flavored soup with konbu, edible seaweed, dried bonito flakes and pork.
Standard toppings to make Okinawa soba even more of a treat are kamaboko fish cakes, sliced scallion and a thick slice of stewed pork belly or soki, boneless pork ribs. To spice things up a little, add a few drops of koregusu, which consists of chili peppers soaked in awamori rice liquor.
As Okinawa soba is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, it can be eaten all over the prefecture. Naha’s Kokusai Dori, International Avenue, in particular, is brimming with places serving Okinawa soba. The dish has also has won the hearts and palates of many in Brazil, where hundreds of Okinawans have emigrated and now call home. It is loved to such an extent that it has been granted cultural status in the country.
There are plenty of other variations of Okinawa soba to be enjoyed, with each island in Okinawa Prefecture offering its own version of the dish. Some are as follows.
Named after the island which it calls home, Miyako soba is unique in the fact that its noodles tend to be flatter and straighter than those of soba found on Okinawa's main island, though the ingredients are generally the same as those of Okinawa soba.
Yaeyama soba, a specialty throughout the Yaeyama Islands, uses thin, round noodles served in a rich, mild-tasting soup. Toppings in the form of finely cut pork and kamaboko fish cakes are characteristics of this dish, while Pipa-tsu, island pepper, is the ideal condiment.
Daitou soba is instantly recognizable thanks to its thick, cross-section noodles, which soak up the light-flavored soup well. Kneaded in a mixture of sea water and wood ash, the noodles are chewy, allowing each mouthful to be savored.
1, Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa
ex) Kokusai Dori
Airport: Naha Airport