I don’t think I have ever come across freshly made buckwheat noodles before. The only posts I have on soba are here (worth going back to to read the comments, they are vintage marketmanila.com reader banter that often adds more to the discussion than the original post) or here. I assumed buckwheat was a type of wheat, but I was wrong. It turns out it’s actually “a fruit seed that’s related to rhubarb and sorrel” according to this site and it goes on to talk about how darned healthy it is.
I have always liked soba noodles and now that I know how healthy they are, I really should eat more of them! But coming across (first) this beautiful basket above filled with balls of fresh buckwheat and later in the market these incredibly long and beautiful looking noodles was a real treat and revelation.
It seems the noodles are a dark brown when relatively freshly made, and still damp. As they dry out, they turn a lighter color, such as these in the basin. Apparently preparing and eating wet vs. grocery dry buckwheat are experiences that are world’s apart, but I’m not sure how, since I didn’t get a chance to have them this fresh anywhere we ate, or at least I wasn’t aware of it. Btw, noodles are a BIG deal in this part of china, because rice doesn’t grow abundantly in these parts… They have lots of winter wheat, hence the abundance of heavy dumplings and other noodles, rather than rice.