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.

NYC First Night Food

Radio City Music Hall

Our vacation this year was to New York City and arrived just in time to check in and head to dinner. We quickly discovered that Radio City Music Hall was right around the corner from our hotel.

Menkui Tei

I found Menkui Tei on yelp and we went in to try their ramen. I took the wall menu postings and inclusion of Hiyashi (cold) ramen to be good signs.

Menkui Tei Walls

Hubby had his ‘usual’ Miso Ramen and I tried the Hiyashi Chuka.

Miso Ramen  ala Menkui Tei

Hiyashi ala Menkui Tei

Neither of us were disappointed. Hubby even went back a second night and had the same thing with an added egg.

Next up Dessert!
Just a little further down 56th Street, Momofuku has a “milk bar” selling cookies, soft serve and a few other select sweets. Hubby tried their soft serve flavor of the day, salted pistachio caramel.

momofuku softserve salted pistachio caramel

A selection of cookies made it back to the hotel room.

Cookies from momofuku

The “compost” cookie included whole mini pretzels and cornflakes.
They were all very rich and tasty, but I liked the peanut butter the best.