Do you know what Japanese people often eat on hot days? Udon? Soba noodles?
On a hot day I eat somen noodles!
In Tokushima prefecture, Handa in the Mima district of Tsurugi town is an area known for somen production. There is actually a Handa somen brand, but I should mention straightaway that they’re not the regular somen noodles sold at supermarkets – they are a very different product!
Usually, somen is the name given to dried noodles with a diameter less than 1.3mm. Noodles with a larger diameter have other names such as “hiyamugi” (cold noodles) or udon noodles. However, Handa somen noodles are very thick (1.7 mm), which makes them unique!
They are made at several plants, but this time I visited Kitamura Hakusen, which is a favorite of yours truly, photo-writer Chiba.
Somen making starts with kneading wheat flour with salty water and then maturing the dough.
After maturing, the noodles are stretched in this machine.
To ensure they don’t stick together, they are separated manually one by one using large chopsticks.
After stretching, the noodles are dried indoors in a temperature and humidity regulated environment.
A day later the drying process is over and the 19 cm long noodles are cut.
And this is how the thick Handa somen noodles are made.
While they have a simple refreshing taste, their thickness also makes them filling, and if you squeeze on some sudachi citrus fruit, a Tokushima specialty, the cooled noodles taste even better!
The noodles, which can also be used to make pasta dishes, for example, can be purchased at the link below. Different recipes can be found on the webpage, so feel free to use them as a reference!
Location: 108-5 Matsubae, Handa, Tsurugi-cho, Mima district, Tokushima prefecture
Telephone service hours: 9:00-16:00
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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