No wonder why people in Fukui love soba noodles. Fukui is famous for its soul food ‘Echizen oroshi soba’ (buckwheat noodles with grated Japanese radish), and it is a cuisine representative of the prefecture that has been passed down since the Edo period, more than 400 years ago. It is also one of the nation’s leading soba-producing areas. Almost all of its arable land is used for producing an indigenous variety of soba, and it is said that there is no other place to produce an indigenous cultivar on such a large scale. The indigenous varieties of soba in Fukui such as Ono, Maruoka, Awara, Imajo, etc. are highly evaluated nationwide for the excellent scent, flavor and texture. Thus, a lot of soba noodle lovers come to Fukui all the way down from other prefectures.
It is from 1947 onward that Fukui’s oroshi soba was spread to the whole country as Echizen oroshi soba. In October of that year when the Emperor Showa came to Fukui, he had two servings of oroshi soba. He missed it after having returned to the Imperial Palaceand and said “The soba of Echizen was very tasty.” The name Echizen oroshi soba came from that Emperor’s word. It is chosen as one of “The top 100 rural culinary dishes in Japan”, and eating the cold soba with grated Japanese radish and soup stock is common. It is popular to eat with Pungent Echizen radishes harvested from the end of October to December, when is the season of harvesting new buckwheat. The spiciness of the radishes increase the soba taste and flavor more. On a side note, you can see pretty little white flowers blooming all over the buckwheat fields from the middle of September to the end of October.