Noodles

Beat the heat with Japanese somen noodles dipped in Starbucks noodle sauce?!

For many Japanese, somen is the go to food of choice for keeping the summer heat exhaustion blues away. These thin, white Japanese noodles that resemble vermicelli are traditionally made from wheat flour and served chilled.

But what do you do if a somen craving hits and you don’t have a full serving of mentsuyu, or noodle dipping sauce, on hand to eat them with? What if you’re tired or eating somen the traditional way?  Or what if you’re in need of a little caffeine kick with your meal?

If you answered mix your noodle sauce with Starbucks coffee, congratulations! We’re stumped as to how our Japanese staff arrived at this weird food combination, but apparently it tastes much better than it sounds.

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Anime store cancels plans to sell Love Live! noodles at midnight because of “safety” concerns

Idol anime Love Live! and instant noodles? We’re not sure if that’s exactly a match made in heaven, but we imagine there are plenty of fans ready to get their hands on these instant noodles, especially since snagging a box of the instant noodles gets you a limited edition clear file!

So, sensing that they were going to have a hit on their hands, the Akihabara branch of anime and manga merchandise store Animate initially decided to offer their truckload of instant noodles at the stroke of midnight. They were drumming up buzz on Twitter…until there was a last-minute change of plans!

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Super Mega Important Debate: Soy sauce-based ramen or miso-based ramen? 【Poll closed】

Happy Saturday, everyone! We hope you got through the week with all your bits and pieces still connected and without getting fired. But before you go off and start being nice to people now that you have a day off, let’s argue about food.

This week we’re talking about soy sauce-based ramen and miso-based ramen – two firm favourites in the world of delicious, soupy noodles and each with legions of fans. But of course, as Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert told us in the 1986 film Highlander, there can be only one, so pick a side and make your click count.

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This restaurant has a new secret weapon: a robot that slices the perfect noodle faster than any human

China has a new celebrity, and it’s not another 7′ 6″ giant who can dunk a basketball or martial-arts master taking center stage in American action movies.

It’s a noodle-slicing robot named Foxbot, who can be found at Dazzling Noodles, an open-kitchen restaurant chain in North China’s Shanxi province.

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Halal ramen comes to Tokyo with Asakusa restaurant, and it’s so good anyone will enjoy it

For decades, the international perception of ramen was that it was something for lazy college students to buy in bulk for when they wanted a quick, hot meal, with only minimal thought given to flavor or presentation. And while ramen does sometimes take that form, assuming it’s all like that is sort of like basing your whole image of pizza on microwavable frozen varieties.

Thankfully, there’s a ramen renaissance going on, as the rest of the world is getting onboard with just how delicious Japan’s favorite noodle dish can be. In response, some restaurants in Japan are adapting to make their food more accessible to foreign visitors, such as this restaurant in Tokyo that serves halal ramen.

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Chef and restaurant owner shows how to eat a bowl of ramen like a pro 【Video】

It seems to be a pretty well-known fact nowadays, but in case, you haven’t heard: slurping while eating is totally cool in Japan. One of the most commonly slurped foods is the delicious noodle dish ramen. Lately ramen has started taking off globally too, with restaurants popping up all over the place. So before things get too crazy, one ramen shop owner wants to teach you how to eat a bowl of ramen.

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Vegetarian ramen in Tokyo? Not only is it available, it’s apparently pretty great too!

Japan is filled with excellent food, but one of our absolute favorites is ramen. There’s just something (possibly everything) about it that’s absolutely delicious. That said, it does present a problem for vegetarians and vegans, since even the broth uses a fairly copious amount of animal products. Now, you may not care about that, but maybe you have a few friend who do. Or maybe you’re just looking for new takes on traditional food. If so, T’s Tantan, a vegetarian ramen restaurant, is just what you’ve been looking for.

We recently sent one of our Japanese writers to check it out, and now you can read his report below and then go try it out for yourself! Or at least tell all your vegetarian friends about it. We promise they’ll love you if you do!

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Cup of noodles for vegans! Japanese Zen Buddhist temple starts selling instant soba and udon

Upon coming to Japan, a lot of people are surprised to discover just how difficult finding vegetarian food can be. Many people imagine Japan as a country that eats very little meat, and while that’s definitely true in comparison to North America and western Europe, the flipside is that you’ll find at least a little bit of meat in just about all dishes, including salads and vegetable stews with surprising frequency.

Things get trickier still if you’re trying to stick to a vegan diet. Even something as simple as noodles are generally out, since almost all broths are made with meat or fish stock. But if you’ve got an aversion to meat coupled with a craving for soba or udon, you’re in luck, with two new types of vegan instant noodles produced by a Zen Buddhist temple.

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Fried chicken teams up with instant ramen in this cup of noodles fit for a king

There’s a popular Japanese TV show whose protagonist, a wandering gourmet with a healthy appetite, often finds himself looking over a restaurant menu while trying to make an agonizing decision about which of two tempting entrees to order. Often, he resolves the crisis by following the advice encapsulated by his catchphrase, “When you can’t decide which to eat, have both.”

That also seems to be the philosophy behind Nissin Foods’ newest product: instant ramen with fried chicken.

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Since chocolate ramen was so good, we went back for … strawberry ramen! 【Taste Test】

Readers who saw our story about the chocolate ramen we tried last month were probably able to tell that we were quite impressed with the unusual noodle creation. So when we heard that the very same ramen shop Menya Musashi had come out with yet another singular ramen dish, you can bet our interest was piqued. This time, the ramen involved fruit — yes, we were ready to make another visit to their shop in Shinjuku to try their … strawberry ramen!

But do berries and ramen mix well? We were about to find out!

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What’s next after green tea ramen? Why, chocolate ramen, of course! 【Taste Test】

Ramen, understandably, is one of the Japanese foods that foreign visitors (and locals too, for that matter) find hugely appealing, and there’s certainly no shortage of ramen shops or unique ramen flavors to be tried in Japan. Now, you may recall that back in November last year, we brought you news of the very interesting matcha green tea ramen from Menya Musashi. Well, this month, it looked like it was time to make a repeat visit to Menya Musashi, to have some… chocolate ramen!

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day week and everything is chocolate themed in Japan at the moment, so why not ramen too, right? We definitely weren’t about to miss this dish that combined two of our favorite foods!

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Station in China reminds us to kindly “wait outside a noodle”

In an effort to make facilities foreigner-friendly or simply to enhance the style of an advertisement Asian governments and businesses will often add English translations. However, many don’t feel it’s worth the effort to do a proper translation and simply rely on automatic ones. The results are often sure to put a smile on the face of English speakers in the rest of the world.

Now, Xi’an North Station has put another feather in the cap of gloriously wrong translations…and this time they called it macaroni.

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How to make Ghost Forest Yakisoba and haunt your noodles for Halloween

Japanese cooking can be a little tricky, since many recipes involve a lot of complex prep work. Yakisoba, though, is a snap. The stir-fried noodle dish is quick and easy, and unlike more rigidly traditional Japanese fare, there’s a lot of room for putting your own spin on it by fiddling with the standard ingredient list of pork, carrots, and cabbage.

For example, with a few simple tweaks for Halloween you can whip up an awesome batch of Ghost Forest Yakisoba.

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Japanese restaurant’s recruiting ad promises time off for anime conventions

On the application for a lot of jobs in the service sector, they’ll ask if you’re willing to work nights and weekends. Oftentimes, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a trick question. On the one hand, candidates obviously want to put their best, most eager face forward, and if you say you’d rather not take shifts then, you’re opening yourself up to the very real possibility of losing the job to someone who’s, at least on paper, more industrious.

Honestly though, no one really wants to be working at those times, since nights and weekends are some of the best times to enjoy spending the money you earn as part of raising your overall quality of life. Thankfully, one udon chain seems to understand this, and as part of their recruiting advertising, points out that working at its restaurants won’t get in the way of the more important things in life, life spending your weekends at an anime convention.

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Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Compared to ramen, udon has a decidedly low-key image. Ramen is actually a comparative newcomer to the Japanese dining scene, and so it’s generally the more likely candidate for crazy experimentation. Udon, on the other hand, is simpler, and in its most basic form, the thick white flour noodles, floating in a basic salty broth, can seem almost austere by comparison.

At least, that’s the impression eating udon only in train station noodle joints and school cafeterias would leave you with. The truth is, in the several centuries Japan has been eating udon, it’s come up with dozens of different takes on the dish, and later this year, you’ll be able to sample dozens all in the same place, with the opening of two Udon Museums in Tokyo and Osaka.

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Stay cool with somen ice Cup Noodles this summer

Nissin Cup Noodles are outrageously popular in Japan and have a firm following worldwide. Now, to keep the love flowing throughout the hot summer months, they’ve released a new special version designed to be eaten icy cold. For the first time, the company will be releasing somen, the thinnest of traditional Japanese noodles, for a meal so light and tasty you’ll be wanting to eat them all year!

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Chinese factory in hot water after employees shown stepping and even sleeping on noodles

There were several scandals last year in Japan involving people being photographed inside ice cream freezers in convenience stores or lying atop bags of chicken nuggets in fast food restaurants. But it would seem that some workers in China have taken it to the next level, with scenes that may make you wish you could grow all your food yourself.

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Doubly-cool anime character made out of chilled noodles perfect for beating the heat

Japan’s currently in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures about eight degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than usual for this time of year. The heat’s supposed to stick around for a few more days, after which we’ll be right into the extremely humid rainy season, swiftly followed by the soaring temperatures of midsummer.

In other words, a lot of people are looking to stay cool right now, and one of the best ways to do that is with a bowl of chilled noodles. One amateur chef, though, figured out a way to add a little escapist entertainment to her escape from the heat by arranging her meal into an amazing recreation of one of the characters from cycling anime Yowamushi Pedal.

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Noodles for candy lovers: Gummy Udon arrives just in time for White Day

I have a minor confession to make: I’m really not a fan of udon noodles. When asked to rank the big three – namely ramen, soba and udon – I’ll give my answer from most to least liked in that exact order. Ramen is quite frankly the man and hard to go wrong with, and soba is, although far simpler, nearly always delicious even hot or cold. But udon I just can’t seem to make friends with. Far heavier than its other noodle brethren, I find myself tiring of udon’s flavour even halfway through a meal, and those thick, heavy wheat-flour noodles slip from my chopsticks and splash into my soup. Every. Single. Time.

But these awesome new gelatinous “gummy” udon noodles, I think I could handle.

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How to easily turn your dry pasta into “fresh” noodles

Pasta, for many of us, is the miracle food. Boil, strain, add sauce, and just like that you have a delicious dish! It’s cheap, easy, and quick–the perfect food for everyone from starving students to busy professionals. It’s even moderately healthy, as long as you choose the right sauces.

On the other hand, it’s so easy and cheap that some of us tend to eat it often enough for it to get a bit boring. If you’re starting to get tired of your dry pasta dishes, why not try using some “fresh” noodles?

If you’re thinking that making noodles by hand sounds like a lot of work, well, we’re sure you’re probably right–but our colleagues at RocketNews24 Japan have a trick that will basically revert your dry pasta back to its “fresh pasta” state!

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