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/小嶋屋 is a renowned soba restaurant chain with many locations in Niigata, whose head office is in Tokamachi City.
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/へぎそば is a regional soba noodle that originated in the Uonuma area in Niigata Prefecture.
One of the main characteristics of Hegi Soba is using seaweed called Funori (布海苔) when making, whose resulting noodles are served on a wooden rectangle tray called Hegi (へぎ).
Kojimaya’s Soba Dish
Soba Cha (そば茶) & Yuzu Shichimi (ゆず七味)
Once we entered the soba restaurant Kojimaya, a waiter led us to a table, and a minute after we took our seats, he served us a cup of buckwheat tea or 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 five side dishes.
Gosai Soba (五菜蕎麦)
Gosai Soba (五菜蕎麦)
The five dishes for Gosai Soba were Yasai (野菜: 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.
With the Gosai Soba served, I poured broth for the buckwheat noodles from the Sake bottle-like ceramic pitcher 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.
As you can see, the tray comes with two ceramic cups: one is used for eating soba as usual, while the other is for eating soba with side dishes.
The buckwheat noodles have an aromatic fragrance, offering a pleasantly bouncy texture, making a perfect pair with the dashi-rich soba Tsuyu broth.
Soba Yu (そば湯)
Soon after the waiter noticed we almost finished eating the dishes, he served us Soba Yu (そば湯), the hot water in which soba noodles had been boiled.
We diluted our soba broth with the translucent whitish buckwheat water and finished the dishes.
At the time, the soba restaurant Kojimaya was very crowded, but we could fully enjoy the authentic Hegi Soba noodles!