Summer months are definitely here to stay when you see people visiting their regular Soba shops to eat either buckwheat Soba or white flour Somen noodles to cool off.
Dip your cold strands of soba into a Soba choko ( small bowl for soba ) filled with
cold Tsuyu, sprinkle some ground fresh wasabi and scallions and slurp up the refreshing cold noodles. Many people add to the Tsuyu,( sauce made from fish broth and Shoyu), and
Shichimi （ 7 ground spices including red pepper ）.
My favorite is the Shichimi with Yuzu that is sold only during the summer, which I purchase at Dean and DeLuca in Tokyo.
Much of the Somen noodles are prepared at home as it comes in a dry form which can be bought at any supermarket. Best of its kind is the Ibonoito Somen, made ever so thin that it slides down your throat. The preparation is just like you would with Italian dry pasta, without the salt when boiling, place in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and wash very well to take away the oil and salt that is in the noodle when it is made. Placed in a bowl with ice cubes to get it as cold as possible. Very white in color, whether it is either made in a factory or handmade by makers, once dried it is left in a dry area sometimes for at least for several years, they say the longer it’s stored the better the taste. With the regular condiments, people add thinly made egg pancakes, sliced thin. Julienned cucumbers and pickled ginger, and kaiware daikon, making the dish colorful and full of great taste, adding fresh ground ginger to the Tsuyu is wonderful instead of the wasabi you place when eating Soba.
Then there is the Soba noodles best eaten at the Soba shop which makes them on the premise called Teuchi Soba. Made with carefully kneaded buckwheat flour, which are brownish in color due to the addition of flour and buckwheat shells when grounded. Which can be eaten cold of course but also hot all year round. These can be purchased as well in a dry form from any supermarket along with the Tsuyu, sold either in a bottle or can. Some need to be diluted or straight out of the can or bottle.
Of course there is the Udon noodles ( white flour thick noodles ) which are likewise eaten cold during the summer but mainly hot during the cold season.
If you like the al dente pasta、with a little hardness in the core, you will love all these noodles.
Must add that some regions in Japan serve these noodles softer than others.
Don’t leave Japan without eating these noodles, you may possibly get hooked on them.