【What is So-men?】
There're many kinds of noodles in Japan. Admittedly, Japanese people love to eat noodle dishes. On average, Japanese eat noodle dish at least once or twice a week.
Ramen, Soba(buckwheat), Udon are arguably top 3 noodle dishes in Japan and all of them can be cold and hot dishes (cold ramen is called as 'hiyashi-chuka' 冷やし中華）
But, the king of cold noodle dish in Japan is 'So-men'. This wheat flour noodle normally served in cold water with ice.
So-men noodles and soup are served separately. Dipping into soy-sauce based soup and eat in one go.
Yes, eat in one go and no munching. Do not keep noodles in your mouth for more than 5 seconds! Making noises when eat noodles is not supposed to be impolite in Japan, so don't worry about its noise.
That's the way Japanese eat So-men.
【Flowing So-men in half-pipe shaped bamboo? 】
There's a special way of eating So-men noodle in Japan. Seeing these pictures is quicker than explanation!
This is called 'Nagashi-somen' (Nagashi means 'flowing' or 'let it flow').
Authentic Nagashi-somen normally use half-pipe shaped bamboo for flowing shooter like in the pic above. Why So-men needs to be flown? As a Japanese, I'd say firstly it looks fresh and cold. This makes us cool down visually. Secondly, it is just fun.
Believe me, catching quick-flowing noodles with chopsticks is not that easy. It's rather difficult and very thrilling. You always need a concentration as if you fail to catch noodles and they go down to bottom, you must feel embarrassed!
You feel great when you catch noodle successfully.
【Where can you enjoy Nagashi-somen?】
This old restaurant is in Chofu-city of Tokyo offers Nagashi-somen during sumer (July to mid-September). This Nagashi-somen is authentic bamboo style. Please note that you need booking in advance.
This restaurant is located a bit far from Tokyo, so it is surrounded by great nature and beautiful waterfall. This waterfall-like Nagashi-somen is amazing and probably only here in Japan. Normally, people share one flowing pipe together and sometimes people fights over so-men as some always catch, but others always don't.
Don't worry, Nagashi-somen here is for individual use. You can enjoy at your pace freely. No one snatches your so-men here.
This restaurant is in old city of Kamakura located in the south of Tokyo where many tourists visit. This restaurant offers very-long bamboo flowing Nagashi-Somen. Don't forget to order Tempura as well!
【Enjoy Nagashi-Somen at home】
You need to go to special restaurant to enjoy Nagashi-somen? Not really, Japanese toy manufacturers already solved that issue. You can enjoy Nagashi-somen anytime, anywhere (as they are battery-powered).
For individual use, I would recommend this one. Circle-shaped flowing machine is easy to use.
For those who wants more fun...this should be the one.
Do you want something more? You may think Japanese should make some extreme one as Japanese always do, right? Yes, there're some crazy Nagashi-somen machines and maybe watching videos on Youtube is just enough as they're too big to fit in your room!
So instagrammable one? Never ask who's gonna eat noodles on poolside. You never know what 'Party people' want to do...
Thank you for reading. Tokyo Direct is online shop of Japanese shop. We aim to deliver the best of Japan to you!