Summer in Japan is all about noodles! Cold, refreshing and packed with a variety of fresh, nutritious vegetables served on top chewy ramen noodles and drizzled with a zingy sauce. Hiyashi Chuka is one of the most popular summer noodle dishes in Japan!
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What is Hiyashi Chuka?
The Taste of Summer
Summer in Japan is a extremely hot and humid time of year. Whether you like summer weather or not, we have many seasonal dishes to look forward to! Noodles are the perfect summer dish, they're easy to make, don't require hours in the kitchen and can be eaten cold. Here are a few dishes that make Japanese people instantly think "summer"!
- Somen (Thin noodles with dipping sauce)
- Zaru Udon (Thick udon noodles with dipping sauce)
- Hiyashi Chuka (Chinese style noodles with meat, vegetables and sauce)
These are the most iconic summer noodle dishes!
While Somen and Zaru Udon tend to be very basic with just noodles and dipping sauce, Hiyashi Chuka is always extremely colourful and served with a refreshing selection of ingredients.
Typical ingredients are:
- Fried egg
- Boiled egg
- Meat (Usually ham, but chicken, chashu, crab sticks, shrimps or salmon can be used)
The vegetables used in this dish are mostly seasonal which makes the dish even more attractive in summer!
"Kinshi Tamago" Shredded Egg
Hiyashi Chuka is usually served with "kinshi tamago" (錦糸卵), a super thin egg crepe that has been cut into thin strips. It almost looks like noodles! They add good colour and texture to the dish.
To make the best kinshi tamago, you will need a whisk, a sieve and a non-stick frying pan.
What is "Chuka"?
The word "chuka" (中華) usually means "Chinese food" in Japanese, so most people think that hiyashi chuka is a Chinese dish. Well actually, "chuka" refers to the type of noodles used. They're called "chukamen" (中華麺) and are most commonly used for ramen.
Although this dish is usually made with ramen style noodles, it also works great with udon, soba or even regular spaghetti. So don't worry too much if you can't find fresh ramen noodles! (If you want to make your own ramen noodles, try my ramen noodle hack with spaghetti!)
Sauce for Hiyashi Chuka
Basic VS Sesame
Two of the most popular sauces for Hiyashi Chuka would be
Basic sauce is thinner, lighter and more refreshing, while sesame sauce has a thick and rich flavour.
In this recipe, I'm going to make a refreshing basic sauce.
In the Tokai area, where I'm from, we often drizzle it with Japanese mayonnaise too!