Time for Cold Ramen Noodles
“Hisashi-chuuka” (Cold Ramen Noodles) is symbolic of Japanese summer. Restaurants display a flag swaying in the fragrant early summer breeze. The flag says, “冷やし中華始めました– Cold Ramen is now on the menu.” Cold Ramen is an indispensable summer food for Japanese.
I follow the tradition obediently even here in Canada. Feeling a waft of hot summer air on my arms, I cannot resist cooking whatever style of Cold Ramen Noodles with whatever I can get from food stores in Canada.
First, I make Chashu, a chunk of pork slowly boiled in broth for a long time. I tried two different kinds of port, roast pork and pork belly. Pork belly won! Pork roast, of course, is still yummy enough if you don’t like fatty part very much. Second, use noodles with the most elasticity. The key is not to boil them too long. Third, make cold soup for the noodles. I’ve tried several wild ways to mimic the taste I remember, and most trials went pretty well. (The recipe is coming soon.) Last, put your favorite vegetables on top of the noodles. My essential vegetables are cucumbers and bean sprouts. After pouring the cold soup on the noodles, Cold Ramen is ready to be slurped.
Yes. We slurp noodles. The sound of slurping Cold Ramen Noodles is as vital for Japanese summer as the deafeningly loud cry of cicadas.