Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Somen Noodles in Japan

Photo: yoppy on Flickr

Somen Noodles in Japan

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Do you know about the types of noodles in Japan? The most common type is ramen. Ramen noodles are wheat-based noodles. They are made of wheat flour, salt, water and alkaline water.


Photo : Naoya Fujii on Flickr

Another popular type of noodles is soba. Different from ramen, soba is usually made of buckwheat flour. Because the most familiar noodles from Japan are ramen and soba, maybe you already know about these noodles. How about somen noodles then? Somen noodles are thinner than the other noodles, and they are white, wheat-based noodles. So, with this article, I want to introduce you to somen noodles, usually served during summertime in Japan.


Photo : I Believe I Can Fry on Flickr

Somen Noodles

Photo : knuton on Flickr

As I said before these noodles are really thin, less than 1.3 mm in diameter. A particularity of somen noodles is that they are usually served cold. Because of that, Japanese people love to eat these noodles during summertime in Japan. They are usually served with a light flavored dipping sauce known as “Tsuyu” in Japanese. “Tsuyu” is Katsuobushi-based sauce that is usually mixed with onion or ginger. Katsuobushi is the dried and fermented skipjack tuna in Japanese. Surprisingly, somen is also sometimes served in hot soup, which is usually called “Nyumen”.

The Simplest Way to Eat

Photo : I Believe I Can Fry on Flickr

At first, you can buy somen noodles from any supermarket in Japan. Don’t forget to buy “Tsuyu” too. After you buy them, what you must do is really simple. Boil water and add somen to that boiling water for a minute. After that, wash those somen in running water, and put them in a bowl of cold water. How to serve then? Mix “Tsuyu” with water and serve the sauce along with onion and ginger.

Somen Salad

Photo : su-lin on Flickr

It is a Japanese type of noodle-based salad that is also served cold. Actually, this salad consists of three main things: somen noodles, vinegar sauce, and the various garnish. Another version of this salad contains chicken broth, lemon sauce, and sesame oil. For the garnish, lettuce, sesame seeds, scrambled eggs, ham, and scallions are normally used.

Hiyashi Chuuka

Photo : toyohara on Flickr

Hiyashi” means, “chilled” in Japanese, and “Chuuka” means, “Chinese” in Japanese. What kind of dish is it then? Although the name of the dish contains Chinese, it is not a Chinese dish. It is a Japanese dish, which consists of chilled noodles with many toppings served in the summer. For the toppings, they usually use omelet, cucumber, carrot, ginger, ham, and chicken. Some of them also contain pork. For the sauce, they usually mix water with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and vinegar. This dish is really delicious, and it is really good to eat it in summertime. As the name described, it will chill you from the heat during summer.

Nagashi Somen

Photo : Shoko Muraguchi on Flickr

The most interesting way to eat somen is called Nagashi Somen. “Nagashi” means “flowing” in Japanese, so it literally means flowing somen. I have made an article about this Nagashi Somen before. For more information about this interesting way to eat somen noodles, please check here.