Noodles

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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Freaky gourmet: Mango yogurt noodles, anyone!?

During the height of summer, we’ve been known to plonk ourselves down in front our home-made air conditioner with a pile of sliced watermelon or even chilled soba noodles and mentsuyu dipping sauce as a way of keeping cool while engaging in our favourite pastime of filling our faces. But we never imagined for a second that someone would put noodles, yoghurt and fruit together in one dish.

Tokyo and Osaka-based noodle chain Tsurutontan, specialists in udon wheat-flour noodle dishes, is currently offering patrons something rather tropical with its Mango Yogurt Udon. The very thought of eating a cold, sweet version of one of our favourite kinds of noodle at once excited us and made us feel a little bit queasy, so we sent one of our bravest reporters over to try it out. Find out what they thought after the jump.

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Noodles Go Gourmet: We Sample “Udon Sashimi” in Tokyo

The choices we make in life define who we are. Your friends may not admit it, but when you choose mint chocolate chip ice-cream (and bravo by the way), they’re scribbling a couple of lines about you in their mental scrapbook. When you leave your iPod on your workmate’s car, they’re either nodding along or guffawing as they cycle through your albums before bothering to call and tell you they’ve found it. As a wise man once said, “books, records, films; these things matter.” And noodles, my Asia-loving friends, are no exception. Do you like ramen or udon? Udon or soba? When you take a trip to soba town, to you eat them steaming hot or cold and dunked in mentsuyu dipping oil? If you could only eat one kind of noodle for the rest of your life, which would it be?

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We Prove We Are Culinary Wizards by Turning Cup Ramen Ingredients into Delicious Gourmet Meals

Cup Ramen, known to Westerners as “Grade A college student feed,” is perfectly formulated with enough sodium and other preservatives to both fuel late-night study sessions and cure massive hangovers, but nobody’s ever accused it of being a gourmet food.

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Girly Noodles: Is Japan Witnessing the Start of a Female-Oriented Instant Noodle Revolution?

Instant noodles – also known as cup noodles and what this writer lived off during most of his university days – have been a food staple for the busy, cost-conscious and kitchenphobic since their inception back in 1958. Peel back the lid, pour in some hot water, wait a few minutes and you have a hot, filling, if not especially nutritious meal for about the cost of a cup of coffee.

But with the handy meals being something that many associate with students and lonely bachelors, many women shy away from instant noodles, regardless of the fact that they’re just as pressed for time as their male coworkers. And all stigmas and stereotypes aside, few women in their 20s and 30s would be especially happy about replacing their nutritious mid-day meal with a plastic cup of rehydrated noodles swimming in a salty broth.

Enter the girly noodle.

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Finally, an Udon Museum Where You Can Taste the Difference Between Over 45 Kinds of Udon Noodle Dishes From all Over Japan!

This Udon Museum will open on December 22nd from 11:00 in the Gion area of Kyoto. Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat flour.  With all the variations out there – over 45, including noodle shape, thickness, soup varieties, ways to be eaten, included ingredients and cooking procedures – it makes perfect sense to have a ‘Udon museum’!

One of the best things about Japan is its vast and comprehensive food culture where a wide variety of culinary dishes can be enjoyed. Japanese people take great pride in their ‘washoku‘ (Japanese food), with multiple varieties of the same dish according to geographical location. Different areas have their own version of country cooking, sweet or savory, which becomes that area’s ‘meibutsu or speciality, often times giving that area a name which they become famous for. So it is with Udon. Read More

Instant Ramen Maker Sets up Tiny Restaurant in Shibuya Station: Three Dollar Lunch, Anyone?

Japanese food manufacturer Nissin, maker of incredibly popular “like fresh” instant noodle brand Raō, has taken the unusual step of opening a tiny restaurant of its own in Shibuya station, Tokyo. The restaurant opened just yesterday and is situated, of all places, in the very centre of the busy Yamanote line platform.

The miniature restaurant’s menu consists of just two items: two flavours of regular, shop-bought instant ramen, each costing just 250 yen (US$3).

Always eager to try out new food and discover interesting new locations, our intrepid RocketNews24 reporters headed down to see the restaurant for themselves.

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Kyoto Noodle House Serves One Big, Long Noodle

Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.

If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.

Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!

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