By far and away, Japanese cuisine is famous for having a variety of vibrant flavors. Depending on how the food is prepared, Japanese dishes can range from being light and healthy (in meals made with fresh-cut veggies and wholesome wheat flour for example) to super savory from miso garlic pork belly, Japanese beef, and other fresh ingredients. Available in a wide array of restaurants such as sushi bars, hibachi grills, teppanyaki houses, and more, great Japanese fare thrives in many major cities, especially in Las Vegas.
Types of Japanese Noodles & Noodle Dishes
You might be familiar with the differences between Japanese dishes such as sashimi, unagi, shabu-shabu, tempura, and more, but do you know the distinction between Japanese noodles and their dishes? And what kind of mouth-watering wonders do they have to offer? To shed some light on noodles and provide a little food for thought (literally!), here is some insight on eight common types of Japanese noodles and the delightful dishes each one has to offer.
Characterized by its slim body, extended length, and often yellow color, Ramen is well-known for being an ideal anytime meal. Made from a mixture of flour and salt, you can find this noodle in curly, straight, and instant (brick) forms.
- Shoyu Ramen: served hot and flavored with soy sauce
- Miso Ramen: rich in flavor and made with miso paste.
- Tonkotsu Ramen: cooked in a boiled pork bone broth.
2. Shirataki Noodles
Also known as skinny noodles, miracle noodles, and zero-calorie noodles (which makes them a miracle, indeed!), Shirataki noodles are famous for their substantial health benefits. Based on the konjac yam plant, Shirataki noodles are semi-translucent in appearance and rubbery in texture.
- Shirataki Yakisoba: heavy in vegetables and low in carbohydrates.
- Honey Sesame Shirataki: composted of sesame oil, sweet honey, and light veggies.
- Nikujaga Meat and Potato Stew: an authentic Japanese soup favorite in the winter months.
3. Soba Noodles
Based on Soba (buckwheat flour), Soba noodles are known for being low in calories and brown in color. Comparable in thickness to that of spaghetti, Soba noodles are available in hot or cold soups.
- Soba Maki: a variant on sushi with Soba noodles wrapped in seaweed.
- Zaru Soba: chilled Soba noodles served with tsuyu (soy) dipping sauce.
- Tsukimi Soba: served in a hot broth and complete with an egg topping.
4. Somen Noodles
Somen noodles have a thin body (like those of vermicelli noodles), appear light in color, are often served cold, and can be considered a favorite dish in the summer.
- Hiyashi Somen: served chilled with dipping sauce.
- Somen noodles (traditional): served with a sweet soy ginger sauce.
- Somen Salad: made with fresh vegetables, cucumbers, and sliced ham.
5. Harusame Noodles
Also known as glass noodles and cellophane noodles due to their highly transparent look, Harusame noodles come in a skinny body and can run in lengths of up to seven inches. They’re made from a variety of starches such as mung bean, yam, or potato.
- Harusame salad: served with fresh vegetables, ham, and sesame oil dressing.
- Beef Sukiyaki with Noodles: consists of beef, shiitake mushrooms, and cabbage.
- Harusame with pork: cooked as a stir-fry that goes great as a side dish or soup.
6. Tokoroten Noodles
Composed mostly of water and derived from boiled tengusa seaweed, Tokoroten noodles are famous in the summertime as a cold Japanese sweet treat that is firm in texture.
- Kuromitsu Tokoroten: served with mochi, sugar, and black honey.
- Tokoroten with Karashi (hot Japanese mustard): a dish that offers a bold, refreshing flavor.
- Tokoroten with Kinako (roasted soybean flour): a great meal often complemented with mixed fruit.
7. Udon Noodles
An old noodle born in Japan hundreds of years ago, Udon is known for its thick body, firm texture, and ability to absorb the flavor of the broth it’s cooked in. Udon noodles can come in either hot or cold dishes.
- Kake Udon: traditional Udon served in a broth made of fish and dried kelp.
- Ontama Bukake Udon: chilled Udon noodles served with a poached organic Japanese egg.
- Seafood Tomato Cream Udon: cooked in a creamy tomato cream sauce touched with a little honey.
8. Hiyamugi Noodles
Similar to Somen in appearance and texture, Hiyamugi noodles are distinguished by the slightly thicker body than Somen. Hiyamugi noodles are made with flour, salt, and water.
- Cold Hiyamugi: chilled Hiyamugi noodles served with tsuyu dipping sauce.
- Hiyamugi noodles with sesame dipping sauce: a cold dish prepared with sliced cucumbers.
- Hiyamugi noodles with shrimp and mushrooms: made with shiitake mushrooms and eggs.
While our list of 8 Japanese noodles may be limited to just three dishes per noodle, don’t let that stop you from trying out all the other delicious varieties of flavors each noodle comes in as each one offers their unique taste, texture, and quality. The best place to find good eats is your local Japanese restaurant or noodle bar. Enjoy!