Soba are Japanese thin buckwheat noodles.
At their most basic and most traditional, soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour and water, then rolled out shaped into thin noodles. The buckwheat gives the noodles a brown color, firm chewy texture, and nutty flavor. Because buckwheat contains no gluten, the noodles are relatively fragile and can clump together during the boiling process. For elasticity and ease of handling, some varieties of soba contain a percentage of wheat flour, but this reduces their characteristic buckwheat flavor and color.
Soba noodles are typically pre-cooked by a brief boiling before being added to the final dish. They can be served hot, as a soup (kake-soba), or cold, with a dipping sauce (zaru-soba) or chilled broth. The noodles can also be stir-fried with meat and vegetables to make yakisoba. It's important to avoid overcooking soba, as they will become over-soft and mushy.
In Japan, soba noodles may be traditionally eaten when celebrating the New Year.