From curly and thin to thick and chewy, each of Japan’s countless noodle varieties has its own cultural heritage.
Ramen noodles are the most popular noodles in Japan. Referred to as Gakusei Ryori or “student cuisine,” these curly noodles are so beloved that there’s a museum in Osaka dedicated to them.
Soba noodles, made from flavorful buckwheat, are considered to be a lucky food in Japan. Among other customs, these noodles are eaten to bring longevity and happiness in the New Year (Toshikoshi Soba) and gifted to new neighbors as an offering for a long relationship (Hikkoshi Soba).
Somen noodles are the traditional fare of Japan’s Tanabata Festival, celebrating the reunion of two mythical star-crossed lovers. These thin, clear, white threads are served cold with a tsuyu dipping sauce and garnished with star-shaped slices of boiled okra.