1. RamenLet’s start with the most well-known Japanese noodles out there: ramen. You will see characters slurping it in anime and meet foreigners falling in love with authentic Japanese ramen. These noodles are made out of wheat flour, salt and water and are characterized by their pale yellow color. They are thin and have a firm texture which makes them popular amongst all ages. There are more variations of ramen out there than we could list; every prefecture, area, restaurant and family can have their own ramen recipes and it is amazing to see how versatile these noodles really are. One thing is clear: ramen is the king amongst Japanese noodles.
2. UdonNext up are udon, another staple food of Japan. They are the thickest noodles you can find and will fill your stomach for a long time. Their ingredients are similar to the ones of ramen and mainly rely on wheat flour as well as a few other ingredients like salt or water. Udon can be eaten cold or hot and even fried in the form of yaki udon. You can either enjoy them combined with almost any type of meat and vegetable or just as they are together with a simple dipping sauce to add some flavor.
4. SomenSpeaking of eating noodles during the summer, no other noodles are more popular during the hot months than somen. Somen are similar in taste to udon, but are much thinner than the thick noodles. Even though they can be eaten hot as in a soup dish called nyumen, somen are most popular during the summer. They are cooled down with ice cubes and eaten instantly with different dipping sauces. Another popular variation are nagashi somen where the noodles flow through open bamboo sticks in a stream of ice cold water. Catching these noodles certainly requires some chopstick skills.
5. ShiratakiLast but not least we have a kind of noodles that is relatively unknown outside of Japan. Shirataki are made out of flour from the konjac yam. These roots give shirataki their characteristic gelatinous consistency as well as their almost translucent color. Shirataki are especially popular amongst people who try to lose weight since they are low in carbohydrates and calories while still having essential fibers. In supermarkets you can buy them in small packages filled with liquid that you drain before you start cooking. These noodles are slowly making their way to Western countries as a useful addition to low-carb diets.
Were you surprised by how many different noodles there are in Japan? Noodles are more versatile than you might think and you can definitely do more to them than just pressing them into different shapes. While they are simple to make and easily affordable you can get numerous dishes with diverse flavors out of them - a truly amazing food. Have you ever heard or eaten any of our Top 5 noodles? If not, which ones would you like to try? Share your opinions and experiences in the comment section down below!