Wanko Soba

Wanko Soba

An unconventional, traditional local specialty born from the spirit of omotenashi

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Rooted in the custom of serving freshly boiled soba to a lot of people at once

Wanko SobaWanko soba is one of the three great noodle dishes of Iwate, together with Morioka reimen and Morioka jajamen. Wanko means “bowl” in the local dialect. In areas like Morioka and Hanamaki, there was an entertaining custom of serving a small helping of soba noodles in bowls to a large number of customers. This is said to be the origin of wanko soba. In Morioka, the soba is served with spirited shouts, but in Hanamaki, in order to preserve the culture of hospitality when serving feudal lords, silence is the norm.

The soba will keep coming until you put the lid on your bowl

Wanko SobaA characteristic of this meal is that you are strongly encouraged to have more and more refills of noodles. When your bowl is empty, soba will be added without missing a beat. When you are finally finished, you have to quickly put the lid on your bowl before the next round of soba is added. This is the signal that you are done eating. When you visit Morioka or Hanamaki, see how many bowls of wanko soba you can eat!