What’s the Go-To Lunch in a Japanese Summer? Of Course, It’s Somen!

What about Somen?

Hello, international food lovers! When it comes to eating in a Japanese summer, one dish certainly stands out: Somen. This traditional, light and refreshing meal is an absolute must during Japan’s scorching summer months. Let’s take a closer look at this delicious and refreshing dish.

Somen is a very thin, white Japanese noodle made from wheat. Typically served cold, it is a popular way to get through the hot summer. The silky texture and delicate flavour of Somen can be combined with a variety of toppings and dipping sauces to create a varied and enjoyable meal.

What is the charm of Somen?

The preparation of Somen is simple, but an experience in itself. The noodles are boiled briefly and then rinsed with cold water to give them their characteristic coldness and smooth texture. This stops the cooking process and keeps the noodles firm but tender.

The beauty of Somen lies in its simplicity and the variety of ways in which it can be served. One common way is to serve the cold noodles with a cold dipping sauce known as ‘tsuyu’. This flavourful sauce combines soy sauce, mirin and the traditional Japanese stock called dashi. Finely chopped spring onions and ginger are often added to tsuyu, giving it a refreshing and pungent flavour that contrasts beautifully with the subtle taste of somen.

Somen is entertainment!

One of the most unique and fun ways to enjoy Somen is with ‘Nagashi Somen’. Here the noodles are served sliding down a long bamboo tube with flowing cold water. Guests must catch the flowing noodles with chopsticks – a fun, communal dining experience that adds to the enjoyment of this summer delicacy.

Nagashi Somen is even an event at kindergartens and elementary schools in some regions.”

In conclusion, Somen is not just a meal. It’s a cultural experience that captures the spirit of a Japanese summer. So the next time you find yourself in Japan during the hot season, be sure to try Somen and immerse yourself in this universal summer tradition.