Very thin white Japanese noodles called somen are made from wheat flour. They are a versatile noodle that can be served cold or hot with lighter-flavored sauces and broths due to their mild flavor and delicate texture.

Add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender. After cooking, rinse well in cold water to prevent sticking.

Udon noodles, their thicker cousin, are similar to somen noodles, which are rolled and then stretched to give them a delicate shape and texture.

In Japan, “Hiyashi somen,” or chilled noodles with a variety of toppings like wasabi, sesame seeds, and sauces for dipping, is a summertime favorite. They are known as “Nyumen somen” and are consumed in hot broth or stir-fries during the winter. “.

Commercial production of somen noodles dates back to at least 1750, but until the process was mechanized, only the very wealthy could afford the traditional hand-stretched somen noodles, which require two days to make and are extremely labor-intensive. Somen Noodles can age for up to two or three years. It is thought that aging increases their flavor and raises their price.

The summertime custom of “nagashi somen,” or “flowing somen,” is practiced by diners in Japan. Intricate mazes of bamboo half-pipes are built in backyards, festivals, and restaurants. Diners pick up the cooked, chilled somen noodles with chopsticks and dunk them in sauces as they take in the cool breezes coming through the bamboo pipes.

Hawaii’s distinctive cuisine, which incorporates many Asian ingredients, includes this cold somen noodle salad as a main summer dish. Somen noodles must be carefully monitored during preparation to prevent overcooking, and the cooking process must be stopped immediately by rinsing the noodles under cold water.

What Do They Taste Like?

Somen noodles have a springy, chewy texture and a mild flavor with a hint of saltiness.

Why You Should Try Somen Noodles

  • Very versatile. Goes well with any broth, sauce, or toppings!
  • Cook super fast! It takes only 1 to 1½ minutes.
  • Easily accessible. A package of dried somen noodles can be purchased online and in most Asian grocery stores.
  • What Are Somen Noodles?

    Japanese and Asian grocery stores carry packages of dried somen noodles. My favorite brand is called Ibonoito (揖保乃糸). This brand is still the best in terms of flavor and texture, and I grew up eating it. I’m overjoyed that we can now buy their products in the US!

    What Are Somen Noodles?

    Jin, a friend from my middle school, sent me these packages (see below) of somen noodles from Shodo Island where he currently lives.

    What Are Somen Noodles?

    Ume, a Japanese plum, is used to make the pink somen noodles. Shodo Island’s Tenobe Somen (), one of Japan’s top three producers of somen noodles, has made the area well-known.

    What Are Somen Noodles?

    Somen are super thin Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. Because they’re so thin, they cook extremely quickly (2-3 minutes). They taste very light, have a soft texture, and don’t feel at all heavy thanks to their thinness.

    When it’s hot outside, cold somen is unquestionably one of my favorite meals to eat. The noodles are light and refreshing, and it’s cold (and kept cold while you’re eating thanks to iced water)!

    While there are numerous ways to enjoy somen noodles, I think the most “basic” method is to dip the noodles in a dipping broth called tsuyu. There are many different types of Japanese noodle dishes that use tsuyu broth. Tsuyu can be served hot or cold, but in the summer I almost always choose the latter!

    To enhance the flavor and texture of your tsuyu, you can combine a variety of ingredients. Wasabi and green onions are two of my favorites, but here are some other suggestions:

    The next dish in my series of Japanese summer noodles is one of my favorites: SOMEN. These cold noodles are delicious and cooling when dipped in the flavorful dipping broth tsuyu.

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