Are you confident in your chopstick skills? If you are, go ahead and prove it by trying eating flowing “somen”(cold noodles) or “Nagashi-somen” in Japanese.
It is a fun Japanese way of eating in which the noodles are sered not in a bowl or a plate, but by racing through a bamboo pipe filled with cold water. Get those chopsticks ready to catch as many noodles as you can as they flow by!
So, what is somen? Somen noodles are a type of thin wheat noodles usually served cold, after catching their noodles from the cold flowing water, diners dip them in a cup of flavorful soy sauce and then eat. Nagashi-somen is a summer tradition, often seen at festivals and in restaurants, but families can also rig up their own backyard bamboo pipes.
Do you want to make your own Nagashi-somen at your backyard? First of all, you must get the bamboo 5 to 6 inches in diameter. After you got your bamboo, cut it vertically, and after, you can wash it and use it for making your own Nagashi-somen.
As for somen itself, please don’t use the cheap somen, because the cheap noodles gets sticky when they are cooked. As for the recommended brand, please use Ibono-Ito.
The dip sauce and the seasoning contains soy sauce, fish boiled soup, and mirin (sweetened sake). You can also buy the dip sauce directly from a supermarket.
When eating, the server says “Ikuyo!!” (It means that somen is coming) and put somen in the top of the bamboo gutter with running water. If you want to eat a lot, for the right handed it is better to stand at the right side of the running direction, and for the left handed, it is better to stand on the left side.
If you want to go to some Nagashi-somen restaurants, there is one restaurant that I know, which is located at Kyoto. The restaurant’s name is Hirobun, but you can only enter the restaurant between May to September.
So, what are you waiting for? Go eat some Nagashi-somen and add an interesting memory to your life!