Japanese Noodle Dishes: Nyumen and Somen

Here in Japan, the summer season is nearly upon us, and it is getting hotter day by day.

Accordingly, since a while ago, convenience stores around my house have been selling precooked chilled noodle dishes.

When you think of Japanese noodles served cold, what comes to mind? To many Japanese, “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 noodles. Then, have you ever heard of “Nyumen (にゅうめん)”, a Japanese noodle dish similar to Somen?

Somen and Nyumen

For those who know neither of them, this time I will explain both in detail.

Somen (素麺)

Somen Noodle Dish

Somen is a traditional Japanese noodle made from wheat flour, salt and water. They are very thin white noodles with a smooth, slippery texture and feature a cool appearance that is perfect for summer. 

The definition of Somen noodles produced by machine is what has the long diameter of less than 1.3 mm.

After boiled, Somen noodles are chilled with cold water and then served on a plate, often with ice cubes.

Somen Noodles

The sauce for Somen noodles is typically made with water, soy sauce, Mirin sweet cooking rice wine, sugar, and “Dashi (出汁)” soup stock, and served in a glass cup separately from Somen noodles. 

Thus, you eat Somen noodles dipping in the sauce each time.

Nyumen (にゅうめん)

Japanese Nyumen Noodle Dish

Nyumen is sometimes represented as “煮麺” by the “Kanji (漢字)” Chinese character.

The kanji, “煮麺” literally means simmered noodles, and as this indicates, Nyumen is a hot noodle soup served in a bowl.

Nyumen is known as a regional specialty of Nara, the prefecture known as the birthplace of Somen noodles.

The time-honored Somen noodle that Nara Prefecture boasts, “Miwa Somen (三輪素麺)” actually is characterized by not breaking apart even if it is boiled for a long period of time.

The Somen noodle dish served hot, Nyumen is not only eaten in Nara, but the hot noodle soup using Somen is sometimes enjoyed in Japanese households as well.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia 素麺, Kotobank にゅうめん )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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