March 25, 2017
I’m going to start this video by saying that I know some people might think this title is clickbaity, but it’s not! We showed you the steps to make the perfect noodle from a soba master. If watching him isn’t how to make the perfect soba noodle then I don’t know what is! At the same time, we showed you how to make the imperfect noodle, courtesy of us and our incompetence. In that vein I think we could also have called this “How to Make Really Shitty Soba Noodles.” We chose the first title. And I think bouncing back and forth shows you how hard it is to make good soba.
The mixing flour part is pretty easy. The mixing in the water and kneading it altogether is, while tiring, not needing of great skill. It’s just tough to do. The rolling out of the dough, though, is tough, because not only do you have to get it to a specific thickness, you have to do so all around the dough, equally. And you also have to make sure the dough is the right shape, so that when you fold it over on itself you’ll be able to cut the noodles all throughout. It was in the final steps that we messed up the most, and it was there that we realized how much talent is involved in making good noodles.
I mean, the Sensei Ito was able to just look at the dough and say how many centimetres it is. 29. You can see 29 centimetres and differentiate it from 30? Damn son! That’s impressive. And he would also look at the edges of the dough and see how thick it is. His eye for measurements was impressive. And being able to cut the noodles that thin, and that fast?! That was amazing. I could not get them to cut that thin and evenly. Martina’s hand actually locked up while cutting the noodles, primarily because of her condition, but also because that’s a heavy ass knife!
By the end of it, when we ate our noodles, they actually weren’t half bad. They were really enjoyable, though let me add a couple of disclaimers: first, we hadn’t eaten before coming to the shoot, and by the time our noodles were ready to eat it was after 6PM, so just about ANYTHING would have been delicious after so long of a fast. Also, I think things taste better when you think about how much of your own pain and suffering went into them. If I went to a store and got served my noodles I’d be a bit suspicious, but after making them myself THEY WERE MAGICAL OK?! Sensei Ito’s noodles were a lot better, though, of course. The thinness matters. Ours were very thick and tougher to chew. His had just the right amount of bounciness to them without it being so much work to chew, like ours were.
Speaking of disclaimers, we’re going to be transparent here: this was a sponsored video, though I hope it doesn’t seem too forceful or unnatural. We got offered to go to learn how to make soba from a freaking soba master, and we’re really excited about it, so hell yes we said yes. We don’t accept sponsorship from things or services we don’t like. And we had a great experience here. We definitely have a greater appreciation for soba now that we know how challenging it is to make, and we’ll bring that with us to every place we eat soba from now on. If you’d like to experience this for yourself when you’re in Japan, head on over to the WOW! JAPAN Experience+ and pick from their selection of experiences. You can find Rachel and Jun, as well as Sharla trying some out as well if you’d like to see some more!