In Japan, during summer time, there is a fun and cool dish called Nagashi Somen
(流し素麺) or "flowing somen
". Do you know somen
? They are Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. The characteristic of these noodles is that their diameter is less than 1.3 mm. The noodles are usually served cold with a light flavored dipping sauce.
In summer, there is another way to eat these somen
noodles. They are put in water flowing along a long bamboo gutter. What you should do then? You should show off your chopsticks’ skills to catch those flowing noodles! After you catch them, dip them in cool broth, and eat them. This is such a fun and cool way to eat somen
in Japan! This Nagashi Somen
is a summer tradition in Japan, and it's often seen at festivals or in restaurants.
Make Your Own Nagashi Somen
Photo: NAVFAC on Flickr
You can make your own Nagashi Somen
in your own backyard. First of all, what you need is a bamboo with a diameter of 5 to 6 inches. Cut it vertically, wash it, and it should be okay to be used for making your own Nagashi Somen
Photo: I Believe I Can Fry on Flickr
For the noodles, please be careful not to use cheap somen
, because some cheap varieties get sticky when they are cooked or flowed by water. Japanese people usually use the Ibono Ito
brand of somen
For the dipping sauce, you can make it from mixing soy sauce, fish boiled soup, and sweetened sake (known as mirin
IKU YO!!! (Here we go!)
Photo: Tranpan23 on Flickr
When all the preparations are ready, the server will put some somen
noodles on the top of the bamboo gutter with running water. Before the server put the noodles, he/ she will say “Iku yo
!!!” which in fact means “The Somen
is about to come to you guys, are your chopsticks ready?” Isn’t it such an interesting and funny way to eat those somen
noodles? This way of eating somen
is really popular not only among children, but also among teenagers and adults. Japanese people usually do this Nagashi Somen
during the golden week in Japan. They usually do it in a park, or a garden with their family and friends.
Nagashi Somen Restaurant
If you are too lazy to look for a bamboo, cut it, and prepare everything to make your own Nagashi Somen
, you can go to a Nagashi Somen
restaurant. I know one place in Kyoto where you can have Nagashi Somen
on top of a river while enjoying a waterfall view. The name of that restaurant is Hirobun
(ひろ文) and it's located in the Kibune (貴船) area of Kyoto. It is about 40 minutes north of Kyoto Station by car, all the way up in the mountains.
Restaurant website (in Japanese)
For me, this kind of special things makes the Japanese culture very interesting. I have gone to Kyoto before, and I have visited this Nagashi Somen
restaurant, and I really recommend you to go there too. Go experience this cool and fun Japanese food!