Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Japanese noodles made from wheat flour and resembling vermicelli (see spaghetti). The difference between somen and other types of Japanese noodles lies in the way it is made. Whereas all the other types of noodles are made by rolling out dough and cutting it into thin strips, somen is made by pulling dough. It is said to have been introduced from China at two separate periods—first during the Nara period (710–94) and second during the Kamakura period (1192–1333). It was not until the Edo period (1603–1868) with an increase in the production of wheat, that it came to be eaten widely.