Thai-influenced soba at Reiwa Soba
While soba isn’t as popular as ramen, this hawker stall in Jalan Besar garners a long stream of patrons daily, all waiting in line to get a taste of their fusion soba dishes. Reiwa Soba is opened by a Japanese couple, who makes their own soba noodles from scratch using 100% buckwheat flour, and then cooked in a pot of MSG-free bone broth. What’s interesting is that they put their own twist on soba dishes, especially with influences from Thai cuisine.
If you arrive slightly before opening hours, don’t assume that there isn’t a queue just because you don’t see one. Reiwa Soba starts taking orders as early as 40 minutes before they are open for business. We were 20 minutes early and yet the ninth in line. Extra brownie points for them as they were giving out packets of freeze-dried mango with queue numbers written on them so you can snack while waiting for your turn.
Food at Reiwa Soba
We went with their best selling dish, Reiwa Pork Soba ($12), which comprises buckwheat soba, Spanish white pork, and homemade chilli oil that has a base of chicken and fish broth. As with all cold soba, the sauce, which in this case was the chilli oil, instead of traditional tsuyu, was served separately for you to dip the soba into.
The soba had a pleasant chewiness, probably because they were shocked in an ice bath once removed from the hot broth. The taste of buckwheat was definitely noticeable in the soba’s nutty and earthy flavours. Though slightly lacking in flavour, it wasn’t a big issue since the dipping sauce would work as a seasoning anyway.