Cold Wheat Soba — Meal by Twitter and Facebook

I don’t watch a lot of TV at home. Suanne does. Half of the time, our TV is tuned to the Food Network which I don’t think is a surprise to you all.

Recently we came across this episode from Anthony Bourdain about Cold Wheat Soba. I found that rather fascinating because I had never paid any attention to it until now.

This is because the Chinese shun cold noodles. They are almost always served hot — the hotter the better. There might be some Chinese noodles that are served cold but I can’t think of any. Can you think of any?

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From the clip on YouTube, I decided to turn to Twitter. It had been a while since I checked my Twitter account. It was just too “noisy” for me and I just can’t quite figure out how to make full use of it. Anyway, if you have a Twitter account and wants to follow chowtimes, it is here: http://twitter.com/chowtimes

So I tweeted a question asking if anyone knows where I could try the Cold Wheat Soba near my place of work. I know that Torarenbo in Richmond has that but I wanted to try it during the work week.

Hey – hey! There are people who actually reads my tweets.

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I decided to go check out the Cold Wheat Soba at the Yakko Sushi today and not the Sushi Garden since I had already blogged about that place before.

This morning I turned to Facebook next and try to learn a little bit more about Cold Wheat Sushi. I posted a question on the chowtimes Facebook fan page (http://facebook.com/chowtimes) … and …

Hey – hey! There are people actually reading the chowtimes updates.

I felt I know quite a lot already what to expect even before I go.

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It was a short walk from the office to Yakko Sushi. OK, this is kind of confusing. There are actually two Yakko Sushis around the Metrotown area.

There is the one called the Yakko Sushi Express on Kingsway which I had blogged about here. The Yakko Sushi Express restaurant is the bigger one.

The one I went to today is the smaller restaurant and is just called Yakko Sushi. I am not sure if these two restaurants are related in anyway. Yakko Sushi is located on Station Square.

Here is a little trivia for you. Did you know that the Future Shop in the Station Square is the highest grossing per square feet of space? I know because I worked at Best Buy and Future Shop before. Remember in those old days where Future Shop has this big wall of tube TVs in their store … you know, the days before flat screens became mainstream? Well, yours truly was the project manager who managed the whole refitting of FS/BBY stores in a project which is described as “the next big thing since color TVs”. One of the biggest logistical challenge was the tearing down of the TV Wall. It was about 6 years ago when I started on the project and it was big because the company knows that most homes in Canada will be changing their tube TVs to flat screens over a short period of a few years. In those tube TV days, a TV would cost just $300-$400 … LCDs today is easily 2-3 times that. Sorry … I digressed.

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I thought I heard the staff speaking in Korean in the kitchen. I know that the bigger Yakko Sushi Express on Kingsway are operated by Koreans too. So maybe they are owned and operated by the same people.

Service was good. There is just one waitress but since this place is so small, it’s not a problem. There are only seatings here for 20 people.

Since Yakko Sushi is tucked inside Station Square, I don’t think many people eat here except for people who work around this area.

The menu was nothing really exciting. It is just the normal sushi restaurant menu. I am only here for the Cold Wheat Soba.

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There are two options for the Cold Wheat Soba …

with Tempura ($8) or without Tempura ($6).

The tempura was served first. I like it, particularly the prawns and the nice sweet dipping sauce too. There are four pieces and not too oily.

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It is a simple meal — light and refreshing. What I like is that it not heavy which for a light lunch eater this is just what I want.

First thing I checked is the temperature. The noodles is cold but it is not ice cold and the dipping sauce is similarly cold too.

I was under no illusion that this is a very good soba since I had never had any prior reference before.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IAZVOlUMmQ&w=600&h=475]

But looking at this video above, it seems like this Cold Wheat Soba I had is not complete. They did not give me a separate pot of sobayu.

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On hindsight, I should have put these into the dipping sauce the first thing.

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The soba is green while from pictures I saw on the internet are brown in color. Anyone knows what gives this soba the green color? Are these green tea flavored soba by any chance?

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It is how the Cold Wheat Soba is eaten that intrigues me the most and made me want to try it. You take the noodles by the chopstick-ful, dip it into the sauce and then slurp from it.

I actually enjoyed this a lot. The noodle is nice and chewy and the sauce (called soba tsuyu) is lightly sweet.

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At the end of it, there were half of cup left of the dipping sauce. According to the correct way of eating this, I am supposed to have the water used to cook the soba to mix with the soba tsuyu. By itself it was too strong to drink it all. Although I like the taste of it, I felt I shouldn’t drink it like water from a cup lest I look like an idiot to the waitress.

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There you go … my first Cold Wheat Soba.

I would like to try better ones … more authentic ones. Has anyone a recommendation on where you can get the best Cold Wheat Soba?

Yakko Sushi Express on Urbanspoon

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  1. I’ve just been talking about cold noodles! They serve a very nice cold noodle dish at Lin’s, and also at Peaceful. And I’ve had cold noodles (mung bean I think) at the Xi’an stall at Richmond Public Market.

    As for soba noodles, I’m not a huge fan of buckwheat so tend to avoid them, partly because I’ve had a number of mealy versions in town. I don’t recall having green ones…

  2. I think a good place for cold soba noodles is Torarenbo. Here’s a post by Ed on his Torarenbo soba lunch.

    http://edeats.com/torarenbo/

    1. Hi Elaine: The one in Zakkushi looked really good. So that black vessel in the background of the picture is the soba tsuyu? I am not sure because it has a tapered neck which I thought will make it very difficult to dip the noodles into. Ben

      1. That’s what I thought too. But I think for this one you just pour the tsuyu in with the noodles and other stuffs in the plate and mix it!

  3. The soba noodles are green because you had the green tea variety.

  4. There IS “cold noodles” in Chinese cuisine. According to some websites it began back in the Tang Dynasty. It’s a common dish for summer. Usually the noodles will be cooked, cooled, and then mixed into a sauce with sesame paste, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.

  5. My grand parents from China always made “Lan Mein” which is cold noodle. The ingredients are fresh pulled noodles with chicken, cucumber, and the sauce is peanut butter, soya sauce, and vinegar, that is mixed together.

    1. Hi Doug, Ci Ci: In Vancouver, do you know of any place that serves Chinese cold noodles? Does something like the Chicken Fenpi Salad from Lins technically considered a cold noodle? That one is not “cold” in the way that it is not served chilled. Ben

      1. “Liang mian” is “cold noodle” – but not “chilled” by your definition of cold. My favourite is served at OTray at President Plaza. Nice toasty dark sesame dressing and hand-pulled noodles.

        The best zaru soba (cold soba noodles) used to be served at Lime (now gone). They had a soba master (Kayo Uki) who hand made the soba noodles there. They were 100% soba (not adulterated with wheat flour to help bind it).

        1. I should try that Liang Mian noodle from O’Tray. I’ve pretty much tried every dish from O’Tray recommended by Chowhounders. And they never fail. BTW, do they do their own hand pulled noodle? I didnt see any setup for it in their stall.

          1. They do it in the back.

  6. The standard types of Soba: Jinenjo (Wild Yam), Cha, (Green Tea), Mugi (mugwort), and Hegi (seaweed) where the color comes from.

    I love the timing of this post as I just had a nice Zaru Ten Soba at Aki. It was perfect for a hot summer day and the raw quail egg topped it off nicely.

    1. Which Aki is that Jeremy? The one on Robson or the one in Richmond? Anyway, thanks for the info about the types of Soba.

  7. Cold buckwheat noodle or ‘soba’ is usually served on a flat basket called a ‘zaru’. Cold wheat noodle or ‘somen’ is served on ice or in cold water with ice cubes.

  8. I used to love the zaru soba at Kasuga in New West by 6th St, which was a restaurant inside a retrofitted house. They closed down a few years ago though.

    They also had the Kasuga roll which was crispy tempura batter dipped in teriyaki sauce.

    I also remember a cold noodle dish they made with wheat noodles, sliced ham, egg, cucumber, etc. Doesn’t come with a dipping sauce though. Very refreshing in the summer!

  9. You should try some Korean cold noodles (Nengmeyon). My favorite is definitely bibim nengmeyon which comes with spicy sauce on top. So great in the summer!

  10. They also had the Kasuga roll which was crispy tempura batter dipped in teriyaki sauce

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