Best soba dishes in Singapore
It may not be as popular as ramen, but when served chilled with a dipping sauce or tossed into a salad, these buckwheat noodles are comfort food at its best.
The chilled kombu soba noodles from Portico are served as a starter, and rightly so. Lightly perfumed with black winter truffle oil, dried kombu salt and punctuated with dehydrated crispy brown shrimp, the result is light on the palate yet effervescent with flavour. #01-10, 991B Alexandra Road. Tel: 6276 7337. Book a table at Portico with Chope.
Soba varieties run aplenty, each named after the regions from which they originate. Tampopo serves Etanbetsu from the central region of Hokkaido. Paler in colour than most buckwheat strands, the soba is drained from iced water just before it’s served, without you having to fish your noodles from a melting puddle of ice. Add on a side of freshly fried tempura for a delicious contrast of hot and cold. #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre. Tel: 6338 3186
An outpost of a 180-year-old Japanese restaurant chain, Nadaman dishes up a superb cold cha soba ($16). The glistening noodles are firm without being too chewy, and feature aromatic green tea hints. Served as a garnish, the marinated mushrooms are a sweet touch to the dish. 22 Orange Grove Road. Tel: 6737 3644
One needs only to look at Shimbashi Soba’s open kitchen to verify that the noodles are handmade. The Hikigurumi soba is crafted from a blend of three types of flour, boasting a rich, nutty fragrance and chewy texture. The flour is milled fresh daily, kneaded and sliced, then boiled and refreshed in chilled water so the final product is never gluey. Can’t decide between hot or cold? The Paragon Soba set combines both chilled and warm versions, with assorted tempura and dashi dipping sauce. Ask for soba-yu—the nourishing water which the noodles are cooked in—to sip on at the end of your meal. #B1-41 Paragon. Tel: 6735 9882
Tasty yet gut-friendly, Shinkansen’s soba salad is a great light lunch option for busy Shentonites. The springy buckwheat strands from Yamagata are a great alternative to other staples such as brown rice or quinoa. You can also customise your salad by choosing from over 30 varieties of meats, toppings and sauces. #03-22, 100AM @ Tanjong Pagar, 100 Tras St. Tel: 6543 6823
Instead of the usual cold soba options, go for the hot zaru soba soup with beef at Akashi. Unctuous strips of fatty beef lend a rich, meaty flavour to the broth. Although the oleaginous soup envelops each strand of noodles, you don’t lose the light buckwheat taste, which balances the heartiness of the dish. #01-01A Orchard Parade Hotel, 1 Tanglin Road. Tel: 6732 4438
Though known for their unagi offerings, the Japanese fine dining restaurant’s classic soba options also never fail to please. Our undisputed favourite is their chilled buckwheat noodles—served on a basket weave bed, the firm zaru soba has a subtle earthy flavour. Its accompanying tsuyu sauce is redolent of katsuobushi’s distinct aroma and savours strongly of umami nuances. Enjoy the noodles with Chikuyotei’s crispy, fluffy tempura—sweet carrot, mushroom, green pepper and prawn—for a thoroughly satisfying meal. 80 Middle Road. Tel: 6825 1064
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No trip to HAN is complete without its Hot Ohmi Beef Tendon Soba, a comforting bowl of thinly braised Japanese leeks, creamy Ohmi beef morsels and buckwheat noodles in a dance with an uplifting bonito and mirin tsuyu. The thin noodles are perfectly cooked, and the broth is flavourful to the last drop. #01-04 Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road. Tel: 6336 2466
Sushi Jin’s cha soba is a treat for the eyes. The chilled noodles are delicately garnished with a 62˚C poached quail’s egg, nori, spring onions and roasted sesame, with the combination of ingredients and flavours working together harmoniously. This dish calls for repeat visits. #01-11/12 Owen Link, 1 Farrer Park Station Road. Tel: 6443 3378
Ootoya’s buckwheat soba is just the perfect soothing eat after a long day. The handmade noodles retain the natural sweetness and nutty notes of the Hokkaido grains, which are enhanced by an appetising bonito-flavoured dip. The restaurant’s homely set-up and earthy hues complete the comforting meal. #08-12 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road. Tel: 6884 8901