Refreshing Somen

Where to find the best chilled noodles in Tokyo

  • Refreshing Somen
  • Refreshing Somen
  • Refreshing Somen

It is not unusual to lose one’s appetite in Tokyo’s sultry summer weather. Chilled noodles are a wonderful cure-all in such disagreeable conditions, refreshing to the throat and nutritious. Nowadays, hand-stretched noodles can be found all over the country, but Miwa sōmen are probably the most famous, with a history that goes back to 1,200 years ago.
The name and shape may vary from place to place. By one name or another, sōmen are staples of the Japanese home in summer. A peculiar way of serving sōmen is nagashi-sōmen: the noodles are placed in flumes of bamboo, which run across the length of the restaurant, with cold water.
As the sōmen pass by, customers pluck them from the flumes with their chopsticks and dip them in tsuyu, a sauce made with bonito flakes. The trendiest restaurants in the city also feature nagashi-sōmen. Here is where you can find them.
Awa ya Icchō (Nakano)
Run by a Tokushima-born owner, Awa ya Icchō is a restaurant open 24h/day serving handa sōmen, which are typical of Tokushima. The most popular entry on the menu is gomoku abura sōmen, noodles and vegetables in a flavourful broth. Other delicacies include sōmen with sudachi (a green citrus fruit) or tomato and yukke sōmen with marinated bigeye tuna and vegetables, paired with an excellent selection of sakés.
Sakura (Nishi-azabu)
All the dishes in the restaurant are made with carefully selected meat and vegetables grown with a reduced amount of pesticides. On the rooftop terrace you can enjoy “the beer garden course”, with sōmen and barbecued meat. Every year the owner goes to Tateyama and personally brings back bamboo flumes for the nagashi-sōmen, which customers can dip in a home-made tsuyu flavoured with ginger. Depending on what is in the kitchen that morning, you may have barbecued Saga beef, Sangen pork from Kagoshima or chicken from Miyazaki.
Seasonal Cuisine Restaurant Funayado (Chōfu)
The family of the owner has been involved in the farming business for generations. This reflected in the décor, which creates the retro atmosphere of an old private house, an interesting departure from everything else that you have seen in Tokyo. Bamboo is used to decorate the floor for a cooling effect. In summer sōmen come with tempura and chilled tomato, paired with beer or traditional ramune.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Tokyo  | ramen  | chilled  | somen  | summer  | restaurants  |

related articles | Food & leisure |