Noodles Chill Out: Japanese Version of ‘Pasta Salad’


Our recent “Cook-Up” club had the theme of “food memories.” I have so many memories around food, mostly heavy, comforting holiday foods. But we were in the middle of a heat wave and I didn’t want to go near any of those. My mind kept wandering back to the heat of Summer in Japan when I ate cold noodles for the first time.

In my memory was a small shop in the mountains where there was a cold running stream that would carry the noodles to us. We would catch the noodles with our chopsticks and put them in the chilled dipping sauce.

When I told Mario about it, he expressed his doubts. So I started to think a little harder. He mentioned that it would be really difficult to catch slippery traveling noodles with chopsticks. And I agreed my memory must have been wrong. We must have used a scooping basket of some sort to grab the noodles. It was almost 30 years ago and I have been mis-remembering things lately. And he wasn’t questioning the noodle catching, just the “with our chopsticks” part.

The memory was so vivid: coming in out of the pressing heat and humidity to a cool cave-like restaurant and the sound of a running stream. And then to find the stream carried the noodles. I wanted to relive that delightful experience, so I searched around.

It turns out “nagashi somen” is somewhat of a “tradition” not just a restaurant gimick. And I found video! (I love the internet)

Take a look:

nagashi somen from kitsune-kun on Vimeo.

And they do use chopsticks! Makes me miss Japan.

Here’s the recipe (bamboo river is optional)


Chilled Somen: Light, flavorful and perfect for a warm day.

5 bundles of dried somen noodles (about 1 per person)

2 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Mix all dressing ingredients together and chill. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add somen noodles and stir. Bring the water back to a rapid boil and decrease heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain somen and rinse under cold water.

You can add the dressing or serve it along side a bowl of noodles as a dipping sauce. Serve it over ice to keep it cold and refreshing.

Author: Tricia

Craft addict, flickr lover, Librarian and Legend in her own room.

  • sazzy

    That video is insanely fun. I am imagining a summer yard party with this as the main attraction! Recipe looks very good and something even i could do. Nice food photography btw.

    • cheekyattitude

      Wouldn’t a backyard party be a blast with a bamboo river of noodles?!

      Thanks for the comment and the compliment Sazzy!