Hakone

Learning how to make soba at Iryuda Hakone Iori

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I did a little bit of traveling last month. While we were in Hakone, my Japanese classmates booked and drove us to a highly-rated soba making class at a restaurant for the 10 of us. It’s not the first time for me to attend a soba-making class (read the post here), but hey, you learn something new every time.

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So we arrived at the restaurant. It’s located on the narrow main road leading to Hakone. It’s not that big, probs the size of a house in the rural areas of Japan. We took off our shoes at the entrance and were led upstairs for the soba making class.

So it began.

On the tables were big stainless steel owls, with buckwheat flour.

Instead of getting the dough, we had to mix the ingredients (buckwheat flour and small dose of water) in the bowls ourselves, as instructed by the soba ojisan. After that, instead of kneading the dough with a roller until it’s flat, we kneaded the dough before placing it into a machine that completely flattened it.

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Then, the dough was placed onto thick, wooden choppers, where it was folded. The soba ojisan then thought us how to use the cutter and the block, which is more technical and gives a more accurate cut than just cutting the dough with the cutter as I’d done before.

While there were some who were apparently gifted in the art of soba cutting, some were just terrible! Every time a person screwed up with cutting, the ojisan would ask the person to stop and instructed him or her again, one on one.

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So after more than an hour of labor work, our soba was ready! I’d say 50% was great and 50% was bad 😆

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Then we went downstairs to the restaurant, took our seats and waited for 1/2 an hour or so for our meals to be ready.

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The dish was served! Cold soba on a wooden tray, served with dipping sauce, some garnishing and wasabi and a plate of tempura.

To be frank I wasn’t very appreciative of the idea of cold soba with tempura. With the exception of the soba (the perfect soba cut matters and since ours weren’t completely good that’s our fault heh), everything else tasted so good — especially the tempura, which I thought was very fresh and well-cooked.

We paid JPY3,500 for the course and the meal. An okay amount for the whole experience, IMO.

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If you’re interested to pay the restaurant a visit when you’re around Hakone, give Iryuda Hakone Iori a try.

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