Monthly Feature Story - August 2023 - Somen Noodles

2023-08-03 Monthly Feature Story - August 2023 - Somen Noodles

Japanese food - Somen noodles

Somen noodles are very thin Japanese noodles made from wheat flower. They are less than 1.3 mm in diameter, while udon noodles, which you may be more familiar with, are 1.7 mm or more in diameter.

Somen noodles are very popular during the summer and usually served chilled with a soy-based dipping sauce. Having them with condiments such as green onion, green shiso leaves (Japanese basil), ginger, and myoga ginger makes them taste even better.

Somen noodles are also often served with green maple leaves and ice cubes in some form of glassware, which is pleasing to the eye and has a refreshing taste.

Somen noodles are a must-try in the hot and humid Japanese summer.

There is another unique, fun way that Japanese eat somen noodles: Nagashi-somen, or "flowing noodles"

With nagashi-somen, somen noodles are slid down a water chute made of a bamboo shoot cut in half, and you have to catch the noodles with chopsticks as they pass by. Catching the slippery somen noodles in flowing water is no easy task, but it is lots of fun to try to catch them, shouting out "I've got one!" or "I missed it!"

While nagashi-somen are often eaten at a community event, some restaurants and barbecues on the outskirts of town offer it during the hot months.

For your convenience, table-top versions are also available, where the noodles go down a plastic slide or go round a circuit. You could even try putting together your own version with a bamboo shoot!