Kojimaya: The Best Hegi Soba Restaurant in Niigata
Today, I went out dining at “Kojimaya (小嶋屋)” to enjoy its buckwheat noodles with my family.
Kojimaya is a famous soba restaurant chain with many branches in Niigata whose head office is in the city of Tokamachi.
In the past, the restaurant has presented its buckwheat noodles called “Hegi Soba (へぎそば)” to the imperial royal family of Japan several times.
What is Hegi Soba?
Hegi Soba is a regional soba noodle that originated in the Uonuma area in Niigata Prefecture.
One of the main characteristics of Hegi Soba is to use seaweed called “Funori (布海苔)” when making, and the noodles are served on a wooden rectangle tray called “Hegi (へぎ)”.
Kojimaya’s Soba Dish
Soba Cha (そば茶) and Yuzu Shichimi (ゆず七味)
Once we entered the soba restaurant Kojimaya, a waiter led us to a table, and in a minute after we took our seats, he served us a cup of buckwheat tea “Soba-Cha (そば茶)”.
Sipping the piping-hot buckwheat tea, we chose and decided what to eat from the menu, and I ordered “Gosai Soba(五菜蕎麦)”, buckwheat noodles with 5 side dishes.
Gosai Soba (五菜蕎麦)
Gosai Soba (五菜蕎麦)
The 5 side dishes for Gosai Soba were Yasai (vegetable) tempura, grated radish or Daikon Oroshi, grated yam or Tororo, boiled spinach, and cooked wild vegetables, which are usually eaten with soba noodles one by one.
After the Gosai Soba came to me, I poured broth for the soba noodles from the small ceramic pitcher like a sake bottle into the cup.
Then I sprinkled “Yuzu Shichimi (ゆず七味)“, a spice mix of Shichimi Togarashi and Yuzu citrus, and lastly added in wasabi and finely chopped green onions.
Actually, the tray comes with two ceramic cups, one is used for eating soba in the normal manner, while the other is for eating soba with side dishes.
The noodles have a nice fragrance of buckwheat, offer a pleasantly bouncy texture, making a perfect pair with the dashi-rich soba tsuyu broth.
Soba Yu (そば湯)
Soon after the waiter saw us almost finishing eating the dishes, he served us “Soba Yu (そば湯)”, the hot water in which soba noodles have been boiled.
We diluted soba broth with the translucent whitish buckwheat water and finished off the dishes.
The soba restaurant, Kojimaya was very crowded as usual, but we could really enjoy the authentic Hegi Soba noodles.