The brown buckwheat noodles are cool and delicious, served in layers in a box on a bamboo mat and if you order the large portion "Omori" then you will have another layer of noodles waiting for you in the box when you finish your first layer.
JustHungry.com has a great step by step tutorial of how to make and serve Zaru-soba. You can also order the white flour, Udon noodles in a similar fashion, served cold on top of a bamboo mat or a bowl of ice-cubes with some fresh Japanese Shiso mint leaves under. The dipping sauce is usually a light soy sauce with Wasabi, spring onions and sesame seeds. The black Nori seaweed on the top is also a common way to serve cold Udon and Soba dishes.
そうめん流し However, for kids Somen noodles are a part of a fun family and school event called Somen Nagashi (catch the somen noodles). It is a fun eating game where everyone stands or sits along a long bamboo half-pipe and you try to grab the noodles with your chopsticks while they whizz by you. There are even some electric home appliances that you can buy in Japan to keep the noodles whizzing around in a circle on a cold water current.
In the cute video below, school kids in a pre-school who are just learning to use chopsticks are encouraged to enjoy catching the Somen noodles for their lunch.
|Hiyamugi Noodles recipe|
A recent find is a blog entry by KirstyGirl, on the excellent cookinginjapan.wordpress.com blog, gives a healthy and delicious recipe for another type of Japanese noodle called Hiyamugi. Serving these noodles on a bed of cool salad leaves next to a soy based dipping sauce of ginger, garlic and spices looks like a wonderful treat for families that don't shy away from eating veggies.