Chilled soba is often served on a sieve-like bamboo tray called a zaru, sometimes garnished with bits of dried nori seaweed, with a dipping sauce known as soba tsuyu on the side. The tsuyu is made of a strong mixture of dashi, sweetened soy sauce (also called "kaeshi") and mirin. Using chopsticks, the diner picks up a small amount of soba from the tray and swirls it in the cold tsuyu before eating it. Wasabi and scallions are often mixed into the tsuyu. Many people think that the best way to experience the unique texture of hand-made soba noodles is to eat them cold, since letting them soak in hot broth changes their consistency. After the noodles are eaten, many people enjoy drinking the water in which the noodles were cooked (sobayu), mixed with the leftover tsuyu.
Mori soba: Basic chilled soba noodles served on a flat basket or a plate. Zaru soba: Mori soba topped with shredded nori seaweed. Hiyasi soba: Cold soba served with various toppings sprinkled on top, after which the broth is poured on by the diner. It may include: tororo: puree of yamaimo (a Japanese yam with a mucilaginous texture) oroshi: grated daikon radish natto: sticky fermented soybeans okra: fresh sliced okra
Soba is also often served as a noodle soup in a bowl of hot tsuyu. The hot tsuyu in this instance is thinner than that used as a dipping sauce for chilled soba. Popular garnishes are sliced scallion and shichimi togarashi (mixed chilli powder).
Kake soba: Hot soba in broth topped with thinly sliced scallion, and perhaps a slice of kamaboko (fish cake). Kitsune soba (in Kantou) or Tanuki soba (in Kansai): Topped with aburaage (deep-fried tofu). Soki soba: An Okinawan specialty, topped with soki (stewed pork) Tanuki soba (in Kantou) or Haikara soba (in Kansai): Topped with tenkasu (bits of deep-fried tempura batter). Tempura soba: Topped with tempura, usually a large shrimp. Tsukimi soba ("moon-viewing soba"): Topped with raw egg, which poaches in the hot soup. Tororo soba or Yamakake soba: Topped with tororo, the puree of yamaimo (a potato-like vegetable with a mucilaginous texture). Wakame soba: Topped with wakame seaweed Nameko soba: Topped with nameko mushroom Sansai soba ("mountain vegetables soba"): Topped with sansai, or wild vegetables such as warabi, zenmai and takenoko (bamboo shoots). Kamonanban: Topped with duck meat and negi. Nishin soba: Topped with migaki nishin, or dried fish of the Pacific herring.