15 types of Japanese noodles

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Macaroni is a food with a daily presence in Japan. There are thousands of noodles that differ from the West, both in the composition of the pasta and in the ingredients of the dish. In this article we will see different types of Japanese noodles.

Although we mention different types of noodles, Japan is famous for making its own pasta in restaurants, so the flavor and type kind of changes region and restaurant, providing unique and indescribable types.

Throughout the article we will highlight one of the keywords for each type of pasta, by clicking on it, you will be redirected to an article that talks more about that particular type of pasta.

Ramen or Lamen - Noodle Soup

Ramen is a simple dish consisting of noodle soup with a variety of ingredients and flavors. Generally, restaurants make their own pasta used in the dish, which is very similar to ramen noodles (only in appearance).

There are hundreds of different types of ramens, some chefs take their whole lives to perfect their original recipe, the preparation of some lamen it can take up to 12 hours. There are thousands of ramen restaurants spread across Japan.

In addition to the traditional shoyu lamen, shio lamen and misso lamen, we also have different preparations like tsukemen and tantanmen. Some cooks go further and create ramens with black stock, on fire or stuffed with meat, imagination is the limit!

Tipo de macarrão japonês - ramen
A Traditional Ramen

Soba - Buckwheat Noodles

Under the is a traditional Japanese noodle made from buckwheat that is usually served cold or hot. They are easily found throughout Japan, it is a fairly common dish that replaces the standard meal consisting of rice and meat.

There are different types of Soba, from the most consistent industrialized to homemade made from pure buckwheat that has a super fragile consistency. The pasta usually mixes with the sauce of the dish causing a magnificent flavor.

Some characteristics of soba are its crunchy feel, the way the pasta and sauce mix and meet on the tongue, in addition to its smell. The most traditional are kakesoba, tenpurasoba, zarusoba (cold noodles), sansaisoba and many others.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - soba
Different types of soba pasta dishes

Udon - Macaroni Grosso

Udon is a thick pasta made from wheat flour. This noodle is usually thicker and white than risotto, and it also has a broth made from dashi, mirin and shoyu. Usually a Soba restaurant serves the same dishes with Udon noodles.

That is, there is the zaru udon, kake udon, kamaage udon, chikara udon, kare udon, kitsune udon and many others just as there is soba. Udon has a lighter flavor that usually depends on the sauce and the ingredients that accompany it.

While soba noodles are brown, smooth and thin, udon noodles are bright white, round and thick. The taste and density of udon noodles may vary depending on the region of Japan where you eat them.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - udon
Udon Noodles are really quite thick

Harusame - Transparent Noodles

Harussame, also called glass noodles, is a type of transparent noodles made of starch and water. They are usually sold in dry form, usually used in soups, fried dishes or spring rolls.

O harusame it is usually made with bean sprout starch, potato starch, sweet potato starch, tapioca or canna starch. In the case of the Japanese version, it is usually made with potato starch. Its name literally means spring rain (春雨).

Translucent pasta is commonly used to make salads, or as an ingredient in hot pan dishes. They are also often used to make Japanese adaptations of Chinese and Korean dishes. Another similar alternative is Shirataki.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - harusame
A harusame salad

Shirataki - Pasta without calories

Shirataki also known as Konnyaku gained popularity outside Japan as a weight loss food due to lack of calories. Thin, translucent pasta is made from konjac yam and is rich in dietary fiber, low in carbohydrates and calories.

Noodles are quite popular in Sukiyaki, nikujyaga and other cooked dishes. Pasta can also be drained, dried and roasted, which reduces bitterness and gives the pasta a consistency, usually used in soup or sauce

The noodles shirataki can be purchased dry or wet. When purchased wet, they are packed in liquid. They typically have a useful life of up to one year. It is recommended to wash the pasta to remove the odor from the liquid version.

Sukiyaki - tipo de macarrão japonês - shirataki
Sukiyaki dish with a little shirataki

Somen - Cold noodles

only [素麺] is a very fine white wheat flour noodle, usually served chilled and cold quite popular in the Japanese summer. The same noodles can be served hot in winter by the name of nyumen.

The somen is cooled right after being cooked and is served pure to be dipped in a sauce called tsuyu, which is usually the basis of katsuobushi with onion, ginger or myoga. Amazingly, this frozen noodle is really delicious.

Some restaurants offer the nagashi-somen. On that occasion the pasta is placed in long bamboo gutters that float out of it, at that moment you must be quick, take the pasta and put it in the sauce. A kind of pasta mat.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - somen
Nagashi-somen being served on bamboo mat

Yakisoba - Fried noodles

The word yakisoba literally means "fried noodles". This dish is widely consumed and enjoyed in many parts of the world, mainly in Brazil. It is street food, present at festivals and fairs.

Yakissoba is a simple dish, basically made with sautéed pasta with vegetables and meat. Always well seasoned and with a specific sauce. Chinese noodles used in Ramen Soup called chuukamen approaching the lamen.

There are variations like yakiudon made with thick noodles. The yakisoba is so famous and juicy that it is usually sold inside a bread in convenience stores called yakisoba pan.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - yakisoba

Tokoroten - Seaweed noodles

Tokoroten it is a pasta made from agarophytic algae and has been consumed by the Japanese for over a thousand years. Tokoroten is believed to have been introduced to Japan by China during the Nara period, it was widely consumed in the Edo region.

Originally the pasta was simply made by boiling tengusa and served to eat on the spot. Through freezing, the emergence of kanten, jelly or agar-agar was discovered. Its firm resistance gave rise to the noodles tokoroten.

Tokoroten it can be consumed hot or cold. As pasta, it is mostly consumed with a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce, sometimes with nori, pepper and sesame. In the Kansai region, tokoroten is consumed as a dessert with kuromitsu.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - tokoroten

Hiyamugi - Cold Wheat

Hiyamugi [冷麦] means frozen wheat, it is a type of dry, very fine Japanese noodles made of wheat. It is thicker than somen, similar to vermicelli, considered the second thinest pasta after only.

Hiyamugi are between 1.3 millimeters and 1.7 millimeters in diameter. Anything thicker is udon and anything thinner is sōmen. They are usually white, but can be mixed with pink or green pasta.

Hiyamugi it is enjoyed cold during the summer months. It is usually served on ice or floating in water in a clear glass bowl. The frozen noodles are served with a sauce on the side called tsukejiru, made with dashi, soy sauce and mirin.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - hiyamugi
An example of hiyamugi, but it seems fine for my taste.

Chanpon - Pasta cooked in soup

Chanpon is a regional Nagasaki noodle dish. There are different versions in Japan, Korea and China. The dish was inspired by Chinese cuisine. It is made by frying pork, seafood and vegetables with lard in a soup made with bones.

Noodles are made especially for the chanpon. Unlike other ramen dishes, only one pan is needed, as the pasta is cooked with the soup. Depending on the season, region and situation, the ingredients differ along with flavor.

There are other variations found in Japan. Ankake on Chanpon is a soy sauce-based variant found in Tottori, Shimane provinces, as well as in the city of Amagasaki, in Hyōgo province.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - chanpon

Instant Noodles - Cup Noodles

Instant noodles and the famous Cup Noodles was invented in 1958 in Japan by Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin. One of the most consumed pasta in the world, in Japan there are thousands of different flavors and types of instant noodles.

Instant noodles are consumed by a large part of the Japanese and world population, due to the low price and short preparation time. Called lamen, its flavor does not come close to an original ramen.

Although tasty, it is rich in fat, sodium and various chemical components, which can be bad for your health if consumed too often. Nowadays all countries manufacture their instant noodles.

Tipo de macarrão japonês - cup noodles
Some Korean lamens that are quite spicy.

Other types of Japanese noodles

Sanuki udon - Popular in Kagawa, it has its unique characteristics, the pasta has a square shape and flat edges with a very chewy texture. This type of udon can be found in restaurants written [さぬき].

Wanko Soba - A style from the province of Iwate, particularly in Morioka and Hanamaki. It consists of a small portion of soba pasta in small bowls. Where you quickly eat your soba noodles and refill your bowl immediately.

sara udon - It literally means “dish noodles” is a native dish from Nagasaki Prefecture. Despite the name Udon, there are variations with very popular thin noodles. The noodles are served with fried cabbage, moyashi, vegetables, pork and others.

Okinawa Soba - A type of pasta made in Okinawa, its pasta is not like the original soba, it is more like udon and your soup is very reminiscent ramen, the dough may be slightly flat depending on the region in Okinawa.

Toshikoshi soba - Traditional Japanese noodle dish eaten on New Year's Eve. This custom leaves the difficulties of the year behind because the pureed buckwheat soba noodles are easily cut when eating.

Tsukemen - A very strong type of ramen with thick broth where you actually dip the pasta in the broth to eat it. Soba and udon are some types of pasta used in the dish.

Wafu Pasta - Italian Pasta in Japan

In Japan as well as the rest of the world, you will find the traditional pasta from Italy and other regions of Europe. Western recipes like Carbonara it's quite popular in Japan. I personally experienced these pasta thanks to Japan.

There are restaurant franchises like saizeriya specializing in pasta similar to Italian dishes, but adapted to the Japanese palate. Pizzas and other types of pasta are quite common in Japan.

There is a fusion of the Italian pasta with the Japanese pasta called Wafu Pasta. Just as you can find authentic Italian recipes in Japan, you can also find traditional pasta like spaghetti in Japanese recipes.

The origin of the Wafu pasta dates back to 1953 in a small restaurant in Tokyo called Kabenoana (Buraco in the Wall). At the time, there were only three restaurants serving pasta in Tokyo, one of which was at the Imperial Hotel. ”

Italian type pasta is generally called pasta, which literally refers to pasta. It is also commonly used to refer to the variety of pasta dishes. In Japanese pasta noodles are called men [麺].

Typically, the dough is made from an unleavened dough of durum flour mixed with water and formed into leaves or in various forms. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, and eggs can be used instead of water.

Japanese vocabulary of pasta

In addition to the types of Japanese noodles we saw throughout the article, you may want to try other Italian pastas and pastas. Below we will leave a list of words referring to the types of noodles in Japanese.

PortugueseJapaneseRomaji
thick noodles太麺futomen
paste with eggsエッグパスタeggupasuta
angel hairカペッリダンジェロkaperridanjero
Thin pasta (fettucine)平麺hiraman
capelliniカッペリーニkapperiinii
vermicelliバーミセリbeemiseri
Carbonaraカルボナーラkarubonaara
fedelineフェデリーニfuederiini

Where to buy Japanese noodles?

After seeing these delights, you may wonder where to buy and eat these noodles. If you are in Japan, just go on any street to find a market or restaurant, since those who live in Brazil, have some difficulty in getting them.

In Brazil it is common to find yakisoba, udon and ramen, but even a simple and traditional buckwheat soba is difficult to find. Some manage to buy such pasta in markets with a section of oriental products.

Unfortunately these supposed industrialized noodles sold on the market, it is not the same noodles found in Japan. Many are made in Brazil and only imitate the real noodles found in Japanese restaurants.

There are stores that sell oriental products like konbini. Let's also leave below some products from Amazon Brazil, where you can buy safely and easily:

List of Chinese Noodles

Japan and China have a great connection, so it is quite common to find Chinese pasta in Japan, both in Japanese versions and in its original Chinese version. To complement the article, let's leave a list of Chinese noodles:

Sometimes the name below refers only to the ingredient of the Chinese pasta mix. It is a popular and common dish. I hope you enjoyed the article, if you liked it share and leave your comments.

  • Ants climbing a tree
  • Banmian
  • Beef chow fun
  • Cart
  • Chongqing
  • Chow mein
  • Crossing the bridge
  • Kuan fen
  • Dan zai
  • Dandan
  • Drunken
  • Hokkien Mee
  • Hot and sour
  • Hot dry noodles
  • Lanzhou beef lamian
  • Liangpi
  • Lo mein
  • Lomi
  • Huoguo dun fen
  • Luosifen
  • Mee pok
  • Millinge
  • Satay bee hoon
  • Shanghai fried
  • Su-style
  • Ulmyeon
  • Wonton
  • Yuntunmian
  • Zhajiangmian
  • Biangbiang
  • Cellophane
  • Chinkiang pot cover
  • Cumian
  • Daoxiao
  • Dragon beard
  • Henan braised
  • Hot dry
  • Jook-sing
  • Kaomianjin
  • Lai fun
  • Lamian
  • Liangpi
  • Migan
  • Misua
  • Mixian
  • Mung bean sheets
  • Oil
  • Paomo
  • Ramen
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Saang mein
  • Shahe fen
  • Shrimp roe
  • Silver
  • Yi mein
  • Youmian
  • Gong Zai Mian
  • Wonton noodles
  • Cheonsachae
  • Dotori guksu
  • Garak guksu
  • Jjolmyeon