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Soba Versus Ramen

christina z Aug 2, 2001 06:50 AM

I know this is a really dumb question but I honestly don't know the answer. What's the difference between soba and ramen? I suspect it has to do with what the noodles are made of but I'd be grateful for a definitive answer. And while on the subject of noodles, what are those cellophane noodles made of? Is it true that they are made of some kind of (soy?) beans?

Thanks for being patient with an ignorant chowhound.


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  1. l
    Lynn RE: christina z Aug 2, 2001 08:42 AM

    Until two days ago, I didn't know a soba from a ramen from an udon myself! I've had all three--and they certainly taste different and look different--but I had no knowledge of the specific details. (And I'm a great noodle fan.)

    But--then I found Jim's link to "Other Chowish Sites"--and scrolled down to the site www.worldramen.net--and was treated to a "don't-miss" lesson in noodling.

    I'm sure you'll find it good reading. It sure made me hungry.

    1. r
      Roger Lee RE: christina z Aug 2, 2001 10:00 AM

      Noodles - What they're made of
      Soba - Buckwheat
      Cha-Soba - Buckwheat with green tea powder
      Udon - Wheat
      Kishimen - Wheat (Wide Udon)
      Bean Threads/Vermicelli, Cellophane Noodles - small green beans (hard, dried kind of like Adzuki beans but green)
      Somen - Hard-wheat (asian angel-hair)
      Rice Noodles - Um.
      Ramen - Wheat and egg
      Instant Ramen - Fried and dried ramen

      4 Replies
      1. re: Roger Lee
        Roger Lee RE: Roger Lee Aug 2, 2001 10:15 AM

        AHA! a dim little bulb just went on in my head and it occured to me that the dried green beans referred to in the above post are called mung beans.

        1. re: Roger Lee
          Caitlin McGrath RE: Roger Lee Aug 2, 2001 03:59 PM

          Same beans standard bean sprouts are sprouted from.

          I've also seen, in addition to cha soba (with green tea, and therefore green), which I love, soba flavored with plums (and pink) in Japanese groceries.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
            zora RE: Caitlin McGrath Aug 2, 2001 09:55 PM

            One of my favorite hot weather dishes is zaru soba. Soba noodles are cooked and quickly chilled, then served with a cold dipping sauce (not sure exactly what's in it-- my guess is dashi, soy, rice vinegar, rice wine) and scallions. Sometimes I get an intense craving for it, and drive for miles to one of the few places that I know serves it. Slurp! Gotta run.

        2. re: Roger Lee
          Wray RE: Roger Lee Aug 2, 2001 02:20 PM

          In addition to the ingredients to the noodles (as Roger outlines) there are standard methods for preparing the soup or other ingredients the noodles are served with.

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