In order to make soba (buckwheat noodles), you grind buckwheat, add some water to the resulting buckwheat flour (regular flour or some grated yam is sometimes mixed in as a binder), knead the mixture into a dough, and then cut the dough into noodle shapes.
Soba is one of the variety of Japanese noodles which can be served hot or cold. Buckwheat flour itself is widely used in countries besides Japan as an ingredient for pancakes or galettes (round and flat French cakes), but making noodles out of it is a uniquely Japanese style of cooking.

Buckwheat flour is rich in vitamins and dietary fiber, and is highly nutritious. It is said to be beneficial for your health because it lowers blood pressure, controls blood sugar levels, and increases liver function. In other words, it is believed to be good for preventing many modern illnesses. Unfortunately, however, many of the nutrients and vitamins are lost to the water when boiling the soba. What a waste!
But not to worry, there is a solution to this problem. It is called “sobayu,” which is simply the hot water in which the soba has been boiled. Regarding the origin of sobayu as a food, it is said that there was a soba lover who asked for the water in which soba had been boiled.
“If soba is good, the cooking water has to taste great, too,” was his logic. Sobayu is sometimes served when you order morisoba or zarusoba, which are varieties of cold soba that come with dipping sauce. After you finish eating your soba, you can add some sobayu to the remaining dipping sauce and drink the mixture. Drinking this blend of sobayu and dipping sauce is an indispensable part of eating soba for many soba lovers. As has been mentioned above, sobayu’s preventative effects against modern day diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, decreased liver function are drawing some attention. When you order soba, therefore, you should definitely try sobayu as well.
Luckily, we have found a restaurant which offers all-you-can-drink sobayu.

Ichimi-An Torrance
1618 Cravens Ave.,
Torrance, CA 90561
310-328-1323