“Mom, am I on fire?” These are the famous words our nephew asked his mother after relocating from the Bay Area to Las Vegas. This past weekend I felt like I was on fire as I drove to the Central Valley, one of the hottest parts of our state, for a family gathering. By the time we arrived at my Uncle’s house it was a cool 107 degrees. Blech.
I’ve lived through humid summers in Japan and New York, but after six years in the coldest part of San Francisco I start to wither if the temperature rises past 85 degrees. Yes, it’s true, the Bay Area weather has made me soft. I’m a heat wuss.
My mother, fully aware of my heat aversion, made one of my favorite summer dishes, Somen, while visiting this past weekend. A thin wheat noodle, Somen is eaten cold and is the perfect dish when it’s sweltering outside, or for me 86 degrees. The noodles can be purchased at most grocery stores, as well as the dashi, or broth.
After cooking the noodles, they are best if cooled in the refrigerator for a couple of hours prior to eating. When served, the somen is placed in a bowl of ice water with a small amount of the dashi in a separate bowl. The dashi is highly concentrated, so you only need a little. You dip the cold noodles into the dashi and the key is to slurp your noodles. Slurping loudly is a polite way of eating your noodles in Japan!
There are many different ways to eat Somen noodles. Some put wasabi into the dashi to make it spicier, while in my family we add lemon and red onions. Somen salad is also a very popular dish in Hawaii.
I highly recommend you try it out for dinner this summer. It’s cheap, refreshing, and the noodles cook in under 3 minutes! If you can’t find the noodles at your local grocery, you can purchase at our favorite, Amazon. Enjoy!