In Paris, there is a handmade soba restaurant, Togo. It is run by Mrs and Mr Matsui, who are originally from Fukui prefecture. It is a famous unpretentious restaurant that imports buckwheat flour from Fukui and turns it into soba noodles in Paris.
As far as Japanese noodles are concerned, there are two types: udon and soba. While udon are more of a Kansai (western Japan) dish, soba are more of a Kanto (eastern Japan) dish.
Udon is made from wheat flour, while soba is made from buckwheat flour, which is made from buckwheat seeds. Although buckwheat seeds are also available in France, unfortunately only buckwheat noodles can be made from Japanese buckwheat seeds to achieve this texture and taste. This is why Togo uses buckwheat seeds flown in from Fukui Prefecture.
At Togo, the noodles are made using a buckwheat noodle process called "soba-uchi", and are served fresh. The result is as delicious as in Japan. The noodles are smooth and have a very strange texture.
Zaru soba (cold soba noodles)
Recently, with the advent of the health boom and the popularity of organic food products, interest in buckwheat flour soba noodles has grown worldwide.
Yesterday, even though it was raining heavily, Togo was packed (three rounds of customers while I was there), but most French people were eating hot soba. Japanese broth soup seemed to be very popular. The arrival of the Japanese soup boom in France, coinciding with the health food boom, probably increased interest in soba. The Japanese used to eat cold Zaru-soba.
Sauce katsu (breaded pork with sweet and sour sauce)
By the way, there is another specialty hidden here. It's called "Katsu Sauce (breaded pork with sweet and sour sauce)", a specialty of Fukui Prefecture that has become very popular in Japan in recent years. These are not so-called crispy cutlets, but soft cutlets dipped in a sweet sauce, so the texture is unusual and delicious!
Heshiko (salted mackerel in rice-bran paste Nuka)
And what also appealed to Japanese connoisseurs was the heshiko, the pride and joy of the owner. Heshiko, unfamiliar to the French, is a local dish from Fukui prefecture, where blue fish is marinated in salt and then pickled (fermented and preserved).
This Japanese snack is popular with sake lovers as it goes well with sake. Japanese sake lovers enjoy it with their sake, bit by bit, by nibbling it. The daikon radish found under the heshiko is also eaten with sake. This is a very Japanese way of eating heshiko.
The recommended sake is Junmai Jozan super dry sake made in Fukui City by Tokoyama Shuzo. We hope you enjoy Fukui soba at Togo, a popular soba restaurant in Paris.
33 Rue Saint-Roch, 75001 Paris