It’s not cold often in Los Angeles, but few cities have as rich and varied selection of warm soups from different cultures to quell those unbearable, harsh 60-degree winters. But as the sweaters come out, so do the steaming bowls of hot noodle soup — and few have the simplicity and appeal of a proper bowl of Japanese udon or soba.
According to Naomichi Ishige’s The History & Culture of Japanese Food, Japanese udon and soba shops date back to the Edo period, and the two noodles are inextricably linked in Japanese cuisine. Udon is made from rolled wheat flour cut in long strands, whereas soba is made from buckwheat. The prevalence of each is tied, of course, to climate and soil — buckwheat was favored in mountainous areas where it could grow on cold and nonproductive soil. Osaka and western Japan, on the other hand, allowed for wheat flour to be grown after rice paddies were harvested and drained.
As far as warm soups, udon and soba are generally served with a soy sauce-based broth, though variations on broth and toppings will vary. Here are the best places to find a hot bowl of udon or soba noodle soups in Los Angeles.Read More