Happy Donabe Life

Cold Soba with Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba (cold soba with dipping sauce) has been a traditional fast food since Edo Period (1,603 – 1868) in Japan. From kids to elders, people in any social class can enjoy the fresh and smooth soba by quickly dipping in a sauce. While it’s a very popular quick dish for lunch, you can also find soba restaurants or posh izakaya establishments that serve soba as a final course after various small dishes to savor. I remember my late father ate soba for lunch 3 – 4 times a week because it was on of his very favorite foods. This version, instead of a typical soy sauce and mirin based sauce, I made it with an extra amount of dashi with a generous addition of brown rice black vinegar. The result is a very refreshing umami-packed dipping sauce, which you can even drink up (and it’s so good for you because of its high vinegar content).

Vegan option

Use Kombu & Shiitake Mushroom Dashi or your choice of vegan dashi (stock) to make the dipping sauce.




Dipping Sauce


  Suggested Condiments (You can use all or choose some of them from below)

  • Roasted sesame seeds (either golden or black)
  • Thinly-sliced green onions
  • Thinly-sliced shiso
  • Grated daikon radish
  • Shredded nori seaweed
  • Grated ginger
  • Yuzu-kosho


  1. To make the dipping sauce, combine the dashi, soy sauce, black vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and turn off the heat immediately. Let it cool down completely and add the sesame oil. Chill in refrigerator.
  2. Cook the soba noodles according to the package’s cooking instructions. Rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to a bamboo strainer(s) or a plate(s).
  3. Pour the sauce into a serving cup or bowl. To enjoy, take a small amount of the soba at a time and dip in the sauce (with or without condiments) and eat immediately.

In the summertime, I like to serve with a wide variety of ingredients, including summer treats, like sliced cherry tomatoes and raw onion.


Suggested Tools and Tableware

Ingredients Used in this Recipe

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