Hiyamugi vs. Somen noodles: What’s the Difference?
When Japanese people think of summer noodles served cold/chilled, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Somen (素麺) or Hiyamugi (冷麦) or Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華).
Among them, the first two, Somen and Hiyamugi, are similar wheat noodles that look the same because of which many people can’t tell how they differ from each other.
Somen vs. Hiyamugi
Somen and Hiyamugi are wheat noodles made from the same ingredients; wheat flour, water, and salt, with which Udon noodles can also be made.
Then, how do they differ?
Machine-Made Dried Noodles
According to the Food Labeling Standards of the Consumer Affairs Agency,
when Hiyamugi, Somen, and Udon are manufactured by machine and dried, the difference between them comes only from the thickness, as shown below.
|Udon noodles||Long diameter: 1.7 mm or more|
|Hiyamugi noodles||Long diameter: 1.3 mm to less than 1.7 mm|
|Somen noodles||Long diameter: less than 1.3 mm|
Hand-Made Dried Noodles
Meanwhile, when Hiyamugi, Somen, and Udon are produced by hand labor and dried, the definitions of Hiyamugi and Somen are the same; what has a long diameter of less than 1.7 mm.
And the one for Udon is what has a long diameter of 1.7 mm or more, the same as the machine-made version.
By the way, Hiyamugi and Somen are different in production methods, and the former is close to Udon.