Taste of Japan: Differences between Japanese ramen and Okinawa soba

Taste of Japan: Differences between Japanese ramen and Okinawa soba

Stripes Okinawa

So what’s the difference between ramen and Okinawa soba anyway?

Well, according to TotalOkinawa, ramen, which originated in China, is “thin, curly wheat noodles (that) have been in Japan only for about 50 years. Noodles are placed in a bowl of meat- or fish-based broth and are often topped with seaweed, bean sprouts, sliced pork, green onions, and even hard-boiled eggs.

“Because there are so many ramen shops in Japan and on island, they compete for customers’ attention by adding innovative broth flavors, including tomato ramen.”  

Okinawan soba on the other hand, the blog goes on to say, is “light, curly noodles (that) differ from mainland’s straight, brown buckwheat soba. Like ramen, they’re made of wheat, but thicker, flat, and served in a fish or meat broth (usually pork).”

Okinawans, of course, may just call it “soba” or, in their own dialect, “suba,” although it’s quite different than the buckwheat noodles of the same name throughout the rest of the country. The thick wheat noodles actually look more like Japanese “udon” noodles.”

“The noodles tend to have a circular cross section in the Yaeyama Islands, and tend to be slightly flat in the rest of the Okinawan archipelago,” according to Wikipedia. “It is served in a broth flavored with ‘konbu’ (edible seaweed), ‘katsuobushi’ flakes and pork.

“Standard toppings are ‘kamaboko’ (fish cake), sliced scallion and a thick slice of stewed ‘san-mai niku’ pork belly; lit. “three-layer meat”) or ‘soki’ (boneless pork ribs), and usually garnished with ‘beni shoga’ (pickled ginger). For extra spice, diners can add a few drops of ‘korēgūsu’ Korean pepper), which consists of chile peppers soaked in awamori rice liquor.”

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