By Vicky Amin
After a boat ride down the Ono River and a taste of sake at Baba Honten Brewery, stay a while to enjoy the delicacies of Chiba. Near the Ono River is a small restaurant called Koboriya, famous for their kuro-soba, which are black buckwheat noodles that have been cooked in seaweed, giving them their dark appearance.
Koboriya opened over 220 years ago during the height of Sawara’s sake trading era. The current home of Koboriya dates back to 1892, and the building still gives off an atmosphere of traditional Japan. The restaurant sits adjacent to the river, so it is very convenient for travelers visiting the Ino Tadataka Museum to walk to Koboriya for lunch. If you happen to visit Sawara during the festival season, it is highly recommended to make a reservation at Sawara, as the old building has limited seating and many customers during that time.
The signature color of the kuro-soba is what makes the unique taste. Because of the fresh seaweed that is used while boiling the noodles, many nutrients are added to create a healthy dish. The noodles themselves have a light fishy taste to them from the seaweed. If you dip the noodles in the cup of soba tsuyu sauce, which is made of sweetened soy sauce, broth, and mirin, the noodles are much sweeter and flavorful. Once you have finished your noodles, he leftover soba tsuyu can be made into a soup by adding hot water.
The best way to enjoy soba is by eating it cold, as the hot water or broth can change the consistency of the noodles. If you are visiting Sawara during the height of the sake-brewing season in winter, perhaps chilled soba won’t keep you warm. There are other dishes Koboriya, like warm soba dishes, tempura, and other traditional foods. Or enjoy a hot cup of tea to warm you up before you venture outside in the cold.
The staff at Koboriya is very friendly and helpful, especially when visitors from out of town may need help or suggestions during their trip. With an authentic Edo Period atmosphere, filling food, and warm staff, Koboriya is a definite stop during your trip to Sawara.
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