Dish No. 61: Pork Kimchee Tsukemen Soba at Cocoron


This is the thick dipping sauce for your noodles, served hot.

If you’re up to your ears in ramen, consider switching to soba, the most traditional noodles of Japan. These noodles are made of buckwheat, a plant not related to wheat, and classified as neither a grain nor a grass. The wild plant grows well at high altitudes in impoverished acid soil, and has been cultivated in Japan for millennia.

The noodles made from buckwheat are judged by their precise bendability, and perfect buckwheat noodles, prior to cooking, will break if doubled over on themselves.

Soba are the only noodles served at Cocoron, which means “heartwarming” in Japanese, but is also the name of a family of anime characters. One of the most arcane styles of serving these noodles is known as tsukemen, in which the noodles are served cold on the side with a boiling hot broth.

A bite-size wad of soba is held in the broth for 10 to 15 seconds, then transferred to the small bowl for tidy eating. After all the noodles are eaten, hot salty water is poured into the cast-iron crock to make a soup, which is eaten as the conclusion of the soba meal. The Japanese believe that healthful ingredients leech from the noodles into the broth, and hence eating the soup is considered the healthiest aspect of the meal.

Cocoron was recently listed as the best place to eat in Our 10 Best Things to Eat Between Houston and Delancey Streets.

The complete tsukemen meal at Cocoron

Like this post? Take a gander at the rest of our blog.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, here’s the address: @robertsietsema.