When people think of Japanese noodle types, either soba or udon noodles will come to mind (ramen isn’t a noodle type—it’s a complete noodle dish). Sadly, not much people are familiar with sōmen, despite being an equally famous type of noodle amongst Japanese people.
Like soba and udon, sōmen, is also wheat flour based, however, it’s much thinner—having a diameter less than 1.3 mm. Unlike its noodle counterparts, sōmen, is generally served cold; which is one of the reasons that it’s a summertime favorite dish in Japan.
There’s not just one way to eat sōmen. It can actually be enjoyed in a few delicious, and even creative ways. Below are the top three ways you should try eating Somen noodles—either on your own or at a restaurant.
- Somen with Tsuyu
The most common and simplest way to enjoy sōmen is to eat it with nothing more than tsuyu—a lightly flavored dipping sauce made from skipjack tuna. While it sounds a tad boring to eat noodles with nothing more than a dipping sauce, the simplicity of the dish actually helps accentuate the taste, and makes for a calming meal.
- Make a salad sōmen
In the western parts of Japan, people tend to mix sōmen with vegetables to make it into a salad. One of the quickest and easiest ways to make a sōmen salad s to add cut cucumbers and ham. Adding fresh lettuce and tomatoes are anopther popular way of making it, but with any kind of salad, you can add what every type of vegetable you fancy.
- Sōmen as a summer sport
Nagashi-sōmen (flowing noodles) is hands down the most interesting way to eat sōmen. To serve nagshi- sōmen; Ice cold water is first run through a bamboo gutter, the the sōmen is placed at the top end of the bamboo so it can drift down with the flow of water. As the sōmen drifts down to the bottom of the bamboo, people catch the noodles with their chopsticks, and put into their bowls that are already filled with sauce. The sport of catching the sōmen is the most enjoyable part—making it a delicious and entertaining summertime dish!
Try sōmen in its simplest form or get creative. Whatever it is, give it a shot and let us know your experience in the comments!