So what are all of these, and how do you differentiate between them? Do you sometimes get mixed up among each type of Japanese noodles? Let’s begin exploring the world of noodles at Soba.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Preparing_Soba_06_cutting.jpgFrom many sources I’ve read, Soba seems to be created in Japan, making it the original. People make soba from buckwheat and wheat flour. However, in terms of biology, buckwheat is NOT wheat. I consider this fact to be one of the factors that make soba unique.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_Zaru_Soba01.jpgSoba can be served on its own, above a Zaru mat. This is why it’s called Zaru Soba when served like this. The soba itself is cold when served this way.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kitsune_soba_by_adactio_at_E-Kagen_in_Brighton.jpgA very popular way to eat soba is like any noodles in hot broth. Here, it is shown eaten with fried tofu, or kitsune. This meal is being served in Brighton, UK.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Soba_at_Mitsuwa.jpgIt’s also popularly eaten with Tempura, or the deep-fried shrimp and/or vegetables. This meal is being served in New Jersey, US.
Fact: Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power And National Identity, p.144First Ramen shop was RaiRai Ken in Tokyo, est 1910.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:Pork_miso_somen_by_yomi955.jpgSoumen is a thin noodle made from wheat flour. Similar to ramen, but it didn’t have the yellow color from egg or kansui. Soumen, for some reason, is usually eaten by itself or with few other ingredients.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:Nagashi_somen_1_by_jmurawski.jpgNagashisoumen, or the flowing noodles, is a very popular and enjoyable way to eat soumen. You can see water and soumen flowing down the bamboo, and you use chopsticks to catch it.
http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/@0_mall/assistone/cabinet/merumaga/img58407305.jpgSoumen tracks can be set up at home if you have space and bamboo. If you don’t, there’s always somen machines.
http://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/d114/food_feature11.jpgThe name Shirataki means white waterfall. This particular noodle is quite unique in that it’s not based on flour, but konjac. Konjac is a plant which gives jelly-like substance, so the resulting noodle has a unique texture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shiratakinoodles.jpgShirataki is frequently enjoyed in a nabe, or a hot pot, like this. It’s worth noting that people generally do not let shirataki touch the meat, as this will toughen the meat.
http://teczcape.blogspot.jp/2013/03/tofu-based-shirataki-noodles-soup.htmlSince it’s based on konjac and it gives very low calories, it’s considered by some to be a healthy food. I don’t know where the picture came from (in the world), but there seems to be a kind of shirataki made from tofu as well. I’ve never seen it before so I can’t say much.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yakisoba.jpgYakisoba is another popular noodles menu, made by frying noodles with other ingredients and condiments. The result is a richly flavored meal enjoyable by everyone.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HK_Arena_Sunday_AsiaWorld_Expo_Food_Soy_Sauce_Fried_Noodles_%E8%B1%89%E6%B2%B9%E7%9A%87%E7%82%92%E9%BA%B5.JPGYakisoba seems to have evolved from a Chinese menu called the chow mein, shown in this picture. They are really similar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yakisoba_sandwich_by_kaex0r.jpgYakisoba is often served as a bread filling, available in convenience stores. The Japanese people are very creative!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yaki-udon.jpgApart from frying soba, udon noodles can also be fried as well. In this case, it is called yakiudon. There’s no citation, but Wikipedia said it came from Fukuoka after the War. If anyone had been there, I’d like to hear if this is true.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cup_Noodles.jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Momofuku_Ando_at_The_Instant_Ramen_Museum,_June_20,_2013.jpgIn 1948, after the second world war, Mr. MomofukuAndou founded the Nissin company. Ten years later, he managed to invent the cup noodles for the first time. Clearly, the busy workers and students benefited from this invention because it can be easily prepared with minimal cooking and has a long shelf life.
I went on the Internet and mashed some numbers together, taking instant noodles consumption from the, well, World Instant Noodles Association, and world population data from the Population Reference Bureau. I found out that the entire world, on average, eats 14.37 instant noodles per person per year. China plus Indonesia beats all other countries combined. It seems that Ando Momofuku’s invention is really popular there and everywhere.Note: This reflects how much impact Japan has over the entire world. While traditional noodles were copied from China to Japan, now China consumes almost half the world’s instant noodles.
http://michaelbooth.typepad.com/photos/1/p1020038.jpghttp://blog-imgs-29.fc2.com/k/s/i/ksite/DSCF2110.jpghttp://www.dotting.me/en/photo-11925.htmlLike everything else in Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Momofuku Ando and instant ramen in Osaka. It’s near Ikeda station, and viewing the exhibition is free. If you are willing to pay, you can have a ramen kitchen class where you can make ramen from scratch.
The Noodles of Japan
The Noodles of Japan
Japanese Culture Presentation
Nara Institute of Science andTechnology
Originated from China. Instant in Japan.
• Originally called “Shina Soba” 支那そば in 1910s
• Later called “Chuka Soba” 中華そば
• The name finally became Ramen in 1950s.
We’ll talk about this in a bit.
Ingredients for Ramen
• Wheat and salt are main ingredients, add kansui.
• Kansui gives ramen the yellow color.
• This might also be the case if we use eggs.
Image: Kitchen Musings
La Mian (拉面 / 拉麵)
• Looks and sounds like
Ramen. Maybe this is
why Japanese calls it
• We talked about it
last time so I’ll skip
• Just kidding. It is
said that Japanese
monks brought it
back from China in
… a likely story ?
• However, there are
also other stories
such as introduction
of flour milling in
1200s, or that it was
called “konton” which
had sweet fillings!
• By the way, is the
Similar to Udon:
• Chinese has similar dish:
Cumian (粗面 / 粗麵)
• The name may suggest thatYakisoba is made from soba
noodles, but it’s not.
• The word soba in here likely just means noodles, not the
particular soba buckwheat noodles.
• In fact, I think it should be closer to ramen, given its
• Invented by MomofukuAndo in
1958, after founding Nissin
World Consumption of Instant Noodles
Consumption by Country
China & HK
Republic of Korea
per person per year
Consumption Data: World Instant Noodles Association
Population Data: Population Reference Bureau
And yeah, we have a museum for this.
• The MomofukuAndo Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka
Discussion & Conclusion
• Noodle makes up one of the most iconic foods of Japan
• Some noodles were adapted fromChinese, some evolved
separately in Japan
• Sauce and preparation of each noodle recipe seems to be
different, so there are many unique menus in Japan.
• Thanks to our ancestors, we get to enjoy a great variety
of noodles in many menus today.
• The story that Udon was brought fromChina by monks
was most likely
• Yaki Udon did come from Fukuoka