Japanese Noodles: Much More Than Instant Ramen

June 16, 2007 at 4:00 pm 1 comment

Admit it. There was a time in college or in your early 20s when you lived off Ramen noodles from a Styrofoam cup. They were cheap, fast and easy to make: just add boiling water and stir. The hot broth was comforting on a cold day, or when you were battling the flu.

But now it’s time to expand your repertoire. Besides Ramen, which actually originated in China and arrived in Japan during the Meiji period, noodle houses in modern-day Japan offer up several types of noodles. Don’t know your Soba from your Udon, or your Yakisoba from your Somen? Here’s a quick primer:

Soba noodles are similar to spaghetti in thickness. They’re made of buckwheat, look brownish-grey, and can be served hot or cold.

 soba.gif

Udon noodles are about twice as thick as Soba, and are made of wheat flour. They are usually served hot, but can also be served cold, depending on the season.
Yakisoba noodles stir-fried and easy to make at home in a pan. They are served hot with meat, vegetables, and red pickled ginger.

Somen noodles are very thin, whiteish and sticky, and, like Udon, made from wheat flour.

Once you decide on your noodle and broth type, the fun part begins: personalizing each dish with your favorite toppings. Typical add-ons to all of the above can include chicken, pork, egg, seaweed, scallions, shrimp, tempura, tofu, kamaboko (fish cake), and vegetables. You can even use miso soup as your base. The mix and matching possibilities are endless!

Don’t be afraid to slurp up the last drops; with the possible exception of Yakisoba (darn that deep fryer!) noodle dishes are usually extremely healthy, low fat and low calorie.

Dig in! You want more NOODLE??

Sarah S.

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Entry filed under: Japanese Foods.

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1 Comment

  • 1. Long Live Instant Noodles « JPBizDirect’s Blog  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:56 am

    […] 16, 2008 It’s been 50 years since Chicken Ramen Instant Noodles were invented in Osaka, the Japan Times reports. You probably know them as Cup Noodles, the […]

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