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Goin’ Japanesque!

Tastes Great! 4 Classic Cold Noodle Dishes for Hot Summer in Japan

What we feel like eating during hot summer is cold refreshing dishes after all, right?

This time I will introduce 4 noodle dishes uniquely Japanese and perfect for the hot summer.

You may know many of them, but I will include recommendations on good restaurants and tips to enjoy the taste more, so don’t miss them for your reference. Title photo by flickr


Hiyashi Chuka

If you find a sign of hiyashi chuka at the roadside, it’s an evidence that summer has come to Japan.

This dish is served only in summer at many restaurants.

Photo by flickr

Hiyashi chuka has colorful ingredients including summer vegetables like cucumber and tomato, ham, barbecued pork and egg laid on chilled Chinese noodles, mixed with sauce based on vinegar and soy sauce.

Even when you have lost appetite due to the summer heat, you will be surprised that you can easily finish eating all of it.

They are available at a convenience store, too.

This dish was first prepared at Yosuko Saikan in Jinbocho, Tokyo.
I heard “五色涼拌麺” (5-colored cold noodle) of this restaurant is the origin of hiyashi chuka. Why don’t you give it a try?
Access: Jinbocho Station on Tokyo Metro Hanzo Line, Shinjuku Line & Mita Line. Take Exit A7 and walk for a minute. MapOfficial Website



Photo by flickr

Soba is a classic dish in Japanese cuisine.

Soba noodle is made from buckwheat, and it is eaten after being dipped into sauce made with soup stock, mirin, soy sauce, etc.

Basically, what is called “zaru-soba”, “mori-soba”, or “seiro-soba” are cold soba dishes.
Many of you may wonder what the differences are among the three, however, there are no major differences today.
“Zaru-soba” usually have chopped seaweed sprinkled on top.
“Mori-soba” usually don’t have chopped seaweed on top.
“Seiro-soba” are served in containers called “seiro” (bamboo steamer).
In other words, the differences are only in seaweed and container.


How to Eat Soba More Deliciously

Soba-yu, Photo by flickr

I will explain to you the tips to savor soba more fully.

Let’s master the points here and practice them later!

1. Dip One-Third of Soba into Sauce

If you soak the noodles completely in the sauce, you will not be able to enjoy the original scent of soba as the flavor of the sauce smothers it.

Let’s enjoy the original flavor of soba that spreads in your mouth, while dipping the noodles into the sauce only modestly.

2. Don’t Put Condiments on Soba, but Put them into Sauce

When you put condiments such as wasabi directly on the noodles, you cannot enjoy the fragrance of soba.

If you dissolve condiments in the sauce, you can enjoy scent of both condiment and soba.

3. How about Trying Soba-yu Soup?

The photo above shows an example of soba-yu, buckwheat soup. Soba-yu is the water in which soba noodle was boiled, and it is filled with soba’s nutrients, taste and aroma.

Soba-yu is often served around the time when guests have finished eating soba.

You can drink it straight, however a recommended method is to mix it with soba sauce and drink it.

If you pour soba-yu into soba sauce that remains in the container, you can drink it as a soup.



Photo by flickr

Udon is also one of the traditional noodle dishes in Japan.

Warm udon is fantastic in winter, however chilled udon in summer is no less alluring.

Let me introduce a few udon chain restaurants that you can casually drop by and enjoy a solid summer menu variation.

1. Marugame Seimen

Marugame Seimen is a global chain and its restaurants are primarily in Asia but spread all over the world. The company pays careful attention to making good noodle to the extent that all their restaurants have noodle making machines installed on site.

You can enjoy freshly made freshly cooked firm noodles. Official Website

2. Hanamaru Udon

The charm of Hanamaru Udon is in its pursuit of highest quality in all the ingredients, no matter what.

The company has refined everything that goes into udon dish, making noodles with high-quality flour, preparing soup stock at each restaurant, and thoroughly managing the quality of water itself.

Its menu offers a wide variety too, and health-oriented options are also popular, such as “salad udon”. Official Website



Photo by flickr

At last I would like to introduce somen, which is a noodle dish mainly consumed during summer in Japan. The noodle is made from flour and characteristically thin.

After being boiled quickly in hot water, the noodle is served on glass containers together with ice, and eaten with sauce.

Its appearance gives a cool feeling, too.

Somen is perfect for summer, but there is a way to eat it, while enjoying the sense of summer more fully.

That’s “nagashi somen” for you.

Nagashi somen comes flowing in running water in a slide made with half-split bamboo, and you scoop it up and eat it.

For Japanese people, this nagashi somen is one of the essential events in summer.

Photo by flickr

But it is a bit too much to do it yourself, like procuring bamboo.

So, I researched and found a restaurant in Tokyo that serves nagashi somen.

That’s restaurant Funayado.
Access: Walk for 5 minutes from Shibasaki Station on the Keio Line. Official Website

The price is 1600 yen for adults, including chilled tomatoes and tempura (900 yen for children).
If you would like to give a try for nagashi somen experience, why don’t you check it out?
(Reservation is required, and services are offered only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.)


That’s all for my introduction of noodle dishes in the summer of Japan. Did you find dishes that are appetizing for you?

When you are visiting Japan in summer, please consider including them as an option for your meal.

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About the author

I major in Tourism Studies, and am a university student who loves Japan!

View all articles by Rikako