What is the Difference Between Soba Noodles and Udon Noodles?
Japan cuisine has become increasingly popular all around the world. This means that the varying types of Japanese noodles are being experienced by more and more travelers.
Soba and Udon are two types of Japanese noodles that are quite iconic. If you are not familiar with Japan cuisine, you might not be able to distinguish the two from one another, but it is time that you learned more about these Japanese noodles because they are delicious.
These noodles are a lot more different than you might expect. Now when you come across a Japanese dish that features a noodle, you will be able to tell if you are eating soba or udon.
Before we dive right into the differences between the two noodles, it is a good idea to get an understanding of each noodle type and why each is so unique.
Soba and Udon Noodles
SOBA NOODLES – the Soba noodle just might be the most iconic and popular Japanese noodle available, and you will find it in any bowl in Japan no matter what the season may be. These noodles are made from wheat and buckwheat flours and water. The color of the traditional Soba noodle can range from light brown to light green. It is a noodle that is filled with many nutrients, but the process of making this noodle is a lot simpler than you might expect. Even though it is a great source of nutrients, you can make Soba noodles simply by adding water and wheat flour to buckwheat flour. All you need to do after these ingredients have been combined is to knead it into thin dough and then slice it into long thin noodle shapes. The noodles can then be boiled in water and then eaten in various different ways.
UDON NOODLES – Udon noodles are also a very popular noodle in Japan, but they are not as known for being healthy like the Soba noodle. Udon noodles are easy to spot because they are glossy or pure white in color. To make this type of noodle you use wheat flour and salt water. The process of kneading this dough is a bit more extensive than when you are kneading the dough for a Soba noodle. This means that it is typically more time consuming to make Udon noodles.
The Udon noodle is a thick and hearty noodle used mainly in soups and stir-fries.
Serve Cold or In Soup
The way that you eat Udon and Soba Noodles is pretty similar. Both can be eaten cold or in soup, but the types of soups that you add these noodles to is what is so unique. The soup that is often used for the soba noodle is made from a soy sauce and a stock that comes from kombu seaweed. It is a soup that has a lot of varying flavors and a really rich taste that pairs perfectly with the soba noodle.
Since the Udon noodle is thicker and chewier than the soba noodle, it can be found in different types of soups. If you are eating Japanese cuisine regularly, you will quickly notice that Soba noodles are the type that are found in most soups. This means that unless you specify, the type of noodle that is most widely served is the soba noodle.
Color Difference between Soba And Udon Noodles
Color alone is a huge giveaway to which noodle you are eating. This means that just looking at the noodles often allows you to tell them apart. Udon noodles have a white color and sometimes appear glossy, but Soba noodles are almost grey in color. The thickness of the noodle is also something that you can differentiate because the soba noodle is a thin soft noodle, but the udon noodle is thicker.
The Gluten Free Choice
Since health is such a huge topic for most and gluten is something that many people are looking to avoid, Soba nooodles have become increasingly popular as a gluten free noodle choice. Since they are made from pure buckwheat, they are one of the few noodles that is free of gluten. This means that when you are looking for the healthy noodle option, the soba noodle is the primary choice.
Dried or Fresh?
Since Japanese cuisine is more and more popular, it is possible to find udon and Soba noodles in more than just a Japanese food store. However, these noodles are not always packaged the same way. The soba noodle is one that is often packaged dried. It looks a lot like flat spaghetti when it is packaged dried. Udon noodles are different because althougvthey can be found dried, they are much preferred fresh. This means that finding them fresh is the preferred option when cooking with udon.
The dishes that you find udon and Soba noodles in also differ slightly. Since these are different noodles that are prepared in different ways, they are added to different dishes. Udon is a noodle that has a very beaut rap flavor, this means that it is a great choice to be added to dishes that have a very strong flavor. Some of the popular choices for udon are bok choy and poached eggs as well as curried noodle stir fry. While soba is added to dishes containing soy, sesame and carrots.