Somen, the Lesser Known Bro to Ramen

A lot of people coming into Newport Beach today is a reminder that summer is coming and of my gam gam's (oba-chan aka grandmother) because during this time she would always have somen noodles chill'n in the fridge ready to go.

If most of you have no idea what that is, it’s because this is ramens lesser known brother, right after udon, soba, and then you have somen (somen lives under the stairs).

Ibonoito brand somen noodles looking all foofoo (picture by Ibonoito).

Somen is real thin white wheat noodles, sorry gluten haters. It’s just one of the noodles amongst Japanese cuisine which primarily consist of ramen (popular), udon (gaining some traction in LA), soba (buckwheat is healthy, isn’t it?), shirataki (made of yam/konnyaku potato and it’s touted as being really healthy), and somen noodles (who dat?).

The Making of Somen by Getty Images

Click on the image below to view their series on “The Art of Hand-Making Somen Noodles” (this is one of Getty’s new services that I’m trying out).

Embed from Getty Images

A Dish Best Served Cold

Aside from revenge being served cold, somen is best served cold! My favorite way to eat it is with the typical tsuyu (soy, mirin, dashi based broth that my grandmother kept in a pitcher), somen, and green onions all served traditionally cold. It’s not like my grandmother was a slacker or anything, but it’s also served with grated ginger and sliced myoga (I need to dedicate a post just on myoga because I love this ingredient) although I’m sure it’s not easy to find myoga in Colorado?

Go with the Flow (Nagashi-somen)

Oishii Desu Ka

Pictured is Nagashi-somen which is a regional type of somen eaten out of a flume of bamboo with ice-cold water where you can eat the somen as it flows through it. If you’re ohashi/chopstick-challenged, you won’t be eating.

Main image by Tim Notari aka “tasteful_tn” via Flickr (used under the Creative Commons license).


  • Want to make it on your own, I highly suggest Nami’s recipe here at JustOneCookbook.
  • If you think waterbeds were a good idea, try doing your own Nagashi flowing somen party in your NYC studio apartment – check out this article on Serious Eats (one of the only good sites online).

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