Food & Drinks

7 Types of Japanese Noodles Explained

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7 Types of Japanese Noodles Explained

Noodles are the workhorse of Japanese cuisine and the foundation of many iconic dishes.

Whether you've fallen in love with comforting bowls of ramen or are experimenting with icy bowls of somen, here's a quick guide to identifying seven commonly found types of Japanese noodles:

1. Ramen

Ramen noodles are made from wheat, are much thinner and longer than udon and have a nice chewy bite when cooked. You'll usually find them served in a tasty broth.

See: The ultimate ramen cheat sheet

2. Udon

Hiroyuki Takeda/Flickr

Chewy and soft, these thick wheat noodles are usually pale white by comparison to ramen. Udon has a neutral flavour, so they make a good choice for strongly flavoured dishes.

3. Somen

Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr

Somen noodles are stretched thin wheat noodles, comparative to vermicelli and can be served both hot or cold, and absorb other flavours well.

4. Hiyamugi

Thin light wheat flour noodles, hiyamugi are somwhere in between somen and udon noodles in terms of size although they are eaten in the same types of dishes.

5. Soba

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour or buckwheat flour and wheat four of equal parts. Try our delicious recipe for soup with soba noodles, spinach and poached egg.

6. Shirataki

Sarah R/Flickr

These chewy noodles are made from high fibre konjac flour and can be used to add texture to dishes like sukiyaki and oden.  

7. Harusame

Harusame, sometimes called cellophane noodles, glass noodles or mung bean threads, are translucent dried starch noodles, originally made from mung beans. 

Whilst they are flavourless they are perfect for adding extra texture to soups, salads and stir fys. 

Try our refreshing recipe for glass noodle salad.


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