Inaka Soba vs Sarashina Soba: Japanese Buckwheat Noodles
As you know, “Soba (蕎麦)”, also known as “Nihon Soba (日本蕎麦)”, is a buckwheat noodle that originated in Japan, which is said to have been first made more than 1,000 years ago.
Therefore, today, there are many variations and brands of Japanese soba, including these, and based on the color and thickness, Nihon Soba is roughly divided into 2 types.
The Difference: Inaka Soba vs Sarashina Soba vs Nami Soba
The 2 varieties of soba noodles are respectively called “Inaka Soba (田舎そば)” and “Sarashina Soba (更科そば)”, which actually have contrasting colors, black, and white.
Inaka Soba (田舎そば)
Featuring a blackish color, “Inaka Soba (田舎そば)”, also known as “Sanga Soba (山家そば)”, are somewhat thick buckwheat noodles compared to Sarashina Soba.
Made by grinding unhulled buckwheat seeds, the buckwheat flour for Inaka Soba is coarse, and the noodles are made without using thickener or “Tsunagi (つなぎ). So they have a strong aroma of buckwheat.
From these characteristics, and as the word “Inaka (田舎)” means “countryside” in Japanese, Inaka Soba is said to be a rustic buckwheat noodle.
Sarashina Soba (更科そば)
In contrast, “Sarashina Soba (更科そば)”, also known as “Gozen Soba (御膳蕎麦)”, are thin whitish soba noodles made from the endosperm of buckwheat seeds.
Sarashina Soba is a high-grade soba noodle superior in quality, characterized by the delicate aroma and faint sweetness from the endosperm of buckwheat seeds.
They give a pleasant feel to your throat when swallowing and go well with sweetish umami-rich Mentsuyu broth.
Nami Soba (並そば)
Incidentally, “Nami Soba (並そば)” is the most common soba noodle with the intermediate quality between Inaka Soba and Sarashina Soba. If there isn’t a note on the menu, the soba noodle is thought to be a Nami Soba.