Sunday, October 06, 2013

30 Things You Should Know and/or Will Love about Japan Series: # 18

#18 Oodles of Noodles

Most Americans grow up eating noodles.  Depending on how multicultural your hometown, the variety of noodles may change.  We grew up with mostly Italian based noodles/noodle dishes with maybe a few Chinese noodly dishes thrown in.

Before moving to Japan, our only reference point to Ramen was the little packages you could by for 30 cents, that I ate towards the end of the month in college.

Neither of us had ever lived in a place with a large Japanese population and really hadn't ventured past sushi and teppanyaki (Habachi-style Japanese restaurant) - which we both love.

In reality, I could have done 30 days of just Food in Japan, and knowing my family, they would have been happy with that as well, but I have refrained, since there is more to Japan than just the food, but food is important, interesting, and mysterious to us.

So, onto noodles.

In Japan, the three main types of noodles are, they have many different preparations, and again, this is sometimes dependent on the season.

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 - the curly type pasta, that many are familiar with, but before living here, I had never eaten fresh ramen.  It is the perfect cure to a cold day or a monster hangover.  Unfortunately, our favorite little ramen shop on island closed down unexpectedly, but ramen can be found all over Japan and in many restaurants.  There's even a Cup Noodle Museum in Osaka, you can learn more about this meal in a cup, decorate your own cup and make one with the fillings of your own choice, if you are interested.
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Soba bundles
 - buckwheat noodles.  These are thin light brown straight noodles. In the grocery store, they in packages of cute serving size bundles.  Soba is served both hot or cold.  One of my favorite preparations, although not Japanese, is this cold mango salad with soba noodles:
Beautiful meal made by Gabe Evans, Int'l Food Tech Teacher Conference 2013.

Shrimp Tempura Udon -
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Udon are fat noodles, usually eaten in a hot soup. There are many variations of this.  My personal favorite is putting in udon at the end of a nabe hot pot.

With the weather turning cooler, I'm sure we'll be eating at least one of these different types of noodles while you are here.  This is an easy meal to grab out and about.

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