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Traditional soba rings in new year

Date Posted: 2007-01-08

Buckwheat noodles are an Okinawa tradition New Year’s Eve, and noodle companies were scrambling this weekend to make enough of the savory pasta.

It was a busy time for Okinawa’s noodle companies, with dozens of workers working round-the-clock beginning on the 29th to make noodles, sort noodles, and pack noodles to please local palates. The Sun Foods factory in Itoman Nishizaki had more than 300 people working through the weekend, 50 more than normal, cranking out 700,000 packages of noodles for the holiday celebration. The factory operated 24 hours, with two shifts manufacturing five times the normal amount of noodles.

Nine percent of noodles made were koshi soba. More than 85% of the Okinawa soba manufactured over the weekend were for local consumption, while nearly 15% was for shipping to points outside Okinawa. “It’s getting to be really a shipping boom out of Okinawa,” says Miss Nishime, a soba factory employee. “It is a noodles boom on Okinawa too, so we’ve adjusted the traditional order with original thickness or choice of harder noodles.

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