Japan’s 3 Best Somen Noodle Brands
These days, I see several kinds of pre-made cold ramen lined up on the shelf of convenience stores.
In addition, when it comes to Japanese summer noodles, Tsukemen and Somen are popular.
On the other hand, Somen (素麺) is a traditional noodle that’s been around for over one thousand years. It is a thin white noodle also made from wheat flour.
Somen usually comes in dried form. The noodles are first boiled and then cooled down with iced or running water and washed by hand to remove sliminess on the surface.
We usually eat the prepared noodles, dipping them in a cup of cold Mentsuyu broth.
Japan’s 3 Best Somen Noodles
As Somen has such a long history, it comes in many brands. Among those, have you ever heard of 三大そうめん (3 Major/Best Somen)?
This time, I will introduce the brands known as Japan’s 3 Best Somen Noodles.
First, Ibonoito (揖保乃糸) is a handmade Somen with about 600 years of history. It is now Japan’s best-recognized Somen brand.
This Somen is a specialty around Tatsuno, Shisou, and Himeji Cities, located in the middle basin of the Ibo river in Hyogo Prefecture.
Ibonoito Somen is a thin noodle featuring a smooth and pleasantly chewy texture, making the most of the original flavor of wheat.
Miwa Somen (三輪素麺)
Next, Miwa Somen (三輪素麵) is a Somen noodle with the oldest age (about 1300 years old), produced in the Miwa region around Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture.
It is annually made only for a limited time during the winter season, from November to March.
The noodle has a distinctive texture and hardly breaks into pieces while being boiled. From these characteristics, this one is suitable for being served hot.
Shodoshima Somen (小豆島そうめん)
Shodoshima Somen (小豆島そうめん) is a hand-stretched Somen from Shodo-Shima Island in Kagawa Prefecture.
The most striking feature of this Somen is that it uses sesame oil in the making process.
Because of that, the noodle takes on a yellowish hue and a unique taste somewhat different from others.