Zaru Soba vs Mori Soba vs Seiro Soba : What is the Difference?
When it comes to Japanese buckwheat noodle dishes that are served cold, there are 3 major types in Japan, that is, “Zaru Soba (ざるそば)”, “Mori Soba (もりそば)”, and “Seiro Soba (せいろそば)”.
You may hear about these traditional Japanese Soba dishes. However, many people can’t clearly tell the difference between them.
The Difference between Zaru Soba, Mori Soba, and Seiro Soba
Therefore, today let me explain how the 3 cold Soba dishes, Zaru Soba, Mori Soba, and Seiro Soba are different from each other.
Zaru Soba vs. Seiro Soba
Zaru Soba : The Soba noodles heaped on the bamboo basket called “Zaru (ざる)”
Actually, both “Zaru (ざる)” and “Seiro (せいろ)” are the name of ancient Japanese cooking utensils.
Zaru is a round basket with a concave shape which is made with thin strips of bamboos. On the other hand, Seiro is a wooden steamer used in both Japanese cuisine and Chinese cuisine.
Generally, the Soba noodles heaped on the bamboo “Zaru” basket are called “Zaru Soba (ざるそば)”, while “Seiro Soba (せいろそば)” refers to the Soba noodles served on the wooden “Seiro” steamer.
Seiro Soba : The Soba noodles served on the wooden steamer called “Seiro (せいろ)”
As you can guess from the above, originally, the names of Zaru Soba and Seiro Soba derive from the names of cooking utensils prepared for serving Soba noodles.
However, in modern times, some Soba restaurants in Japan call the Soba noodles heaped on the Seiro steamer “Zaru Soba”, while some others offer Seiro Soba using the Zaru basket.
Zaru Soba vs. Mori Soba
Zaru Soba with shredded Nori seaweed
It is said that the origin of Soba restaurants dates back to the Kanbun era (Kanbun : 1661 to 1673). At that time, Japanese people ate buckwheat Soba noodles dipping in a soy-sauce-based sauce like present Zaru Soba and Seiro Soba.
After that, the people came to consume Soba noodles after pouring soy-sauce-based broth onto them, and this eating manner was called “Bukkake (ぶっかけ)”. By the way, today the simple Soba dish served in the hot broth is known as “Kake Soba (かけそば)”.
Since the Bukkake method appeared and spread in society, the original method of eating Soba noodles was named “Mori (もり)” in order to distinguish it from Bukkake.
The meaning of the Japanese term “Mori (もり)” is heaping something, so it can be said that Mori Soba basically includes Zaru Soba and Seiro Soba.
However unlike Mori Soba, the buckwheat noodles for Zaru Soba are typically topped with dried shredded Nori seaweed.
(Reference page of this article : そばの散歩道)