Summer Noodles

Hiyashi chuka

Although rice is unarguably the mainstay of the Japanese diet, noodles are just as important to the cuisine, with many people consuming them as often as rice.  This is especially true during the summer, when the notoriously humid and stifling weather makes even eating seem like a chore (or so I’ve heard.  We’re not quite there yet, but it’s coming…)  Indeed, the thought of a steaming hot bowl noodles (or rice) in the middle of July would kill even the heartiest eater’s appetite.  Luckily, the Japanese have devised a number of delicious (and healthy) ways to consume noodles when the weather’s warm.  These dishes are quick to prepare, requiring little time behind the stove, and they also take almost no effort to eat, a great boon when the dog days of summer are upon us.

The basis of all these dishes is some form of chilled noodle, usually dipped in or lightly dressed with a dashi and soy-based sauce.  Many of you have probably heard of zaru soba, but the others may be unfamiliar.  Below, a quick run-through of four common Japanese summer noodle dishes.

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