The highlights of my trips to Hokkaido always include the sights I saw and the activities I did. It was so cool to be given the opportunity to learn how to make soba at Sairo Observatory, at the same time getting an amazing view of Lake Toya.
To the noobs: soba is skinny noodle made of buckwheat flour, one of the more popular dishes in Japan. There are many ways to cook soba — it can be served hot or cold, on its own or in soup. Since it’s a popular dish, it’s very easy to find soba in when you’re there (in fact, even in KL).
The restaurant on the top floor of the Sairo Observatory that’s overlooking the view of the gorgeous Lake Toya not only serves soba, but holds soba making classes, too.
To start, the instructor handed us cloth wipes to sanitize our hands (first things first!). Then he gave each of us our own buckwheat dough in a plastic bag and taught us how to fluff, flatten and the cut the dough into pieces. It’s no mean feat — flattening up the dough and making it even took about 15 minutes and a lot of pressing. We still needed the instructor’s help to make the flattened dough soba-worthy.
After that the now thin dough was folded and then cut into very thin pieces. Well, at least that’s what we were instructed to do.
I forgot that we were making soba and had another Japanese noodle in mind the whole time, so I ended up not slicing the dough into thin pieces but made them thick -_-
Here’s a picture of the result of the model sliced dough, not by me, but by Morita-san who totally nailed it:
After we’re done, the instructor places each of our soba on separate trays and labeled them so he’d know which soba is whose. He took them away to the kitchen, because the boiling part is done by the chefs.
I suppose this isn’t exactly a complete soba making class, since a complete lesson should include learning how to prep the dough, flatten and slice it and how to boil it. We only did the middle part, which is probably the most exciting so I’m OK with it.
As we were waiting for the soba to boil, our meals were delivered. There was rice, a plate of steamed vegetables and seafood (request pork-free dishes beforehand), soup for dipping soba and soy sauce.
Shortly after that, our soba arrived! The labeled bowls were served to their rightful owners. We got to eat the soba we made!
It’s not until I tried my own shoddy-looking soba that I realize that the right technique really plays a role in good-tasting soba. I garnered new respect for soba makers XD
Here’s the result, Morita-san’s perfect soba (I bet she’s done this several times already):
If you’re planning to head up to Lake Toya, drop by Sairo Observatory and take a lesson on soba-making. The class requires a minimum of 3 persons and needs to be booked earlier on.
+81 14 287 2221
This trip was sponsored by Hokkaido Tourism. Thank you Rusutsu Resort for the opportunity to try out dog sledding and LIBUR for giving me the opportunity to explore Hokkaido. For the record, the words written on this post are entirely my own.