Shirataki vs Ito Konnyaku: Japanese Konjac Noodles

The other day, I talked about these traditional Japanese noodles for summer. Each of them has a fresh cool appearance perfect for the hot summer season and is usually served cold.

Similar to them, the Japanese foods I introduce today, Shirataki and Ito-Konnyaku are both firm jelly-like strips that give you a cool impression.

However, the long and thin noodles are not meant for the summertime, but in Japan, they are used all year round as ingredients in “Nimono (煮物)” simmered dishes and “Nabemono (鍋物)” hot-pots.

The Difference: Shirataki vs Ito Konnyaku

Both the Shirataki and Ito-Konnyaku strips are very low in calories because they contain as much as 97 percent water. But they are rich in the soluble dietary fiber called glucomannan, so favored as a diet food in Japan.

History

ShiratakiShirataki noodles

When it comes to history, in the old days, Shirataki and Ito-Konnyaku were actually different things. Although they were both made from konjac or devil’s tongue starch, they were different in the production method.

In the Kanto region around Tokyo, the devil’s tongue noodles were shaped by pushing out the ingredient through tiny holes and solidified, and given the name “Shirataki (白滝: literally meaning White Waterfall)”.

Ita-Konnyaku

Meanwhile, in the Kansai region around Osaka, the konjac noodles were made by cutting a rectangular Konnyaku block called “Ita-Konnyaku (板こんにゃく)” into long thin strips, and given the name “Ito-Konnyaku (糸こんにゃく: Thread Konjac)”.

Present Day

However, in the present day, Ito-Konnyaku is often produced using the traditional Kanto-style method, so in many cases, there is no way to distinguish between Ito-Konnyaku and Shirataki.

Ito-KonnyakuIto Konnyaku noodles

Despite that, generally speaking, the white konjac noodles associated with waterfalls tend to be called “Shirataki”, while what has a grey color, which is the common Konnyaku color, tends to be referred to as “Ito-Konnyaku”.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia コンニャク )

Tomo

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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