Soba are noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flours. They are served either hot in a seasoned dashi broth or cold with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce.
Hot soba are topped with various ingredients such as green onions, tempura, a raw egg, and deep-fried tofu. Cold soba sometimes come with dried shredded seaweed, a raw quail egg, and wasabi.
Japanese people eat soba on New Year’s Eve, hoping for good health and longevity for the coming year. Soba are believed to symbolize longevity because of their long shape.
Udon are thick, springy noodles made of wheat flour. They are often served in a hot soy sauce-seasoned dashi broth. Typical dashi broth is made from water, dried kelp, and bonito flakes.
There are a variety of toppings for udon: deep-fried tofu, green onions, kelp, an egg, tempura, processed fish paste, and so on. One of the most popular toppings is sweetened deep-fried tofu.
Udon are very popular among people of all ages and widely available at restaurants in Japan.
Ryokucha or green tea is Japanese tea. Japanese people drink it very often. They drink it before, during and after meals and many more times during the day.
The tea leaves of green tea are the same as those of black tea. The biggest difference is that green tea leaves are unfermented while black tea leaves are fermented.
There are different types of green tea. The most popular green tea is called sencha. Powdered green tea is called matcha. Roasted green tea is called hojicha.
Wagashi is a traditional Japanese confectionery. The main ingredients of wagashi are sweet red bean paste, rice flour, agar, and sugar. It is not only pleasant to the eyes but reflects the seasons or represents objects that are believed to bring good luck.
For example, these cakes represent ume blossoms. Ume is a symbol of the beginning of spring and good luck. Red and white are also considered as auspicious colors.
Edamame is young soybeans which are still in their pods. Unlike mature soybeans, they are moist and soft. Edamame beans are salt-boiled or steamed and served as an appetizer or a snack. Many Japanese like to eat them with beer. They are not only tasty but also nutritious.