My love towards other noodles in Japan

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Jan 9, 2011 09:24 noodles
Ramen 拉麺 is a Chinese word, and soy-sauce based simple flavour ramen is also called 中華そば, which literally means 'Chinese noodle'. According to Wikipedia, Japanese ramen was developed from Chinese noodle during Taisho period (1912-1926). Now, Japanese ramen and Chinese ramen are considered different food categories. You can still enjoy Chinese ramen in Chinese restaurants in Japan. I like them, too.

In summer, you can order cold ramen 冷やし中華, 冷麺 in many ramen shops. Cold ramen is made with the same noodles as common ramen, but served with spicy sauce and ice cubes. I quite like them too.

Apart from ramen, we have much more traditional noodles, soba 蕎麦, udon うどん, and somen 素麺. They all have a good history of their own, and they're still very common and important part of Japanese cuisine. Udon noodle is made from flour, white and as thick as a pencil, whereas Soba noodle is made from Buckwheat flour, grey-coloured, and thin. They are both served in lightly flavoured, hot clear soup in a bowl with boiled scrambled eggs, chicken, or tempura. In many dishes, soba and udon noodles are interchangeable. I love them so much.

Soba is also served cold and it is called zaru soba, where zaru means a strainer made of bamboo to drain noodles off. Zaru soba served with tempura is called tenzaru 天ざる, and this combination I think is the king of soba. The best soba shop is the shop which serves the best tenzaru, because both soba and tempura requires sophisticated skills. Of course, I'm crazy for tenzaru, too.