Nyumen and Somen: Japanese Noodle Dishes
The summer season is nearly upon us, and here in Japan, it is getting hotter day by day. Accordingly, since a while ago, convenience stores around my house have been selling pre-cooked chilled noodles.
By the way, when you think of Japanese noodle dishes served cold, what comes to your mind? To many Japanese people, “Somen (素麺)” is one of the most common noodle dishes served chilled for the hot summer months.
If you are acquainted with Japanese things, you should know Somen. But have you ever heard of “Nyumen (にゅうめん)”, a noodle dish relating to Somen?
Somen and Nyumen
For those who know neither of them, this time I will explain both in detail.
First off, Somen is a traditional Japanese noodle made from wheat flour, salt, and water. They are very thin white noodles with a smooth, slippery texture, featuring a cool appearance perfect for summer.
Incidentally, the definition of Somen produced by the machine is what has a long diameter of less than 1.3 mm.
After boiled, Somen noodles are chilled with cold water, washed by hand to remove sliminess on the surface, and then served on a plate, often with ice cubes.
The sauce or broth for Somen noodles is typically made with water, soy sauce, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), sugar, and dashi soup stock, and served in a glass cup, separately from a plate of Somen noodles.
Thus, you eat the noodles dipping in the sauce each time.
Meanwhile, Nyumen, represented as “煮麺” by the Kanji Chinese character, literally means simmered noodles, and as the meaning suggests, Nyumen is a hot noodle soup served in a bowl.
Nyumen is a specialty of Nara, the prefecture known as the birthplace of Somen, and in fact, the time-honored Somen noodle that the prefecture Nara prides itself on, “Miwa Somen (三輪素麺)” hardly breaks into pieces even if it is simmered for a long time.
The Japanese noodle soup dish served hot using Somen, Nyumen is not only eaten in Nara, but it is cooked and enjoyed in households around the country as well, throughout the year.