I just received a surprise parcel from my uncle living in Japan, and he sent over some really neat packages of fresh hōtō noodles. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard of anything like this. If you’re like me and are living in North America, when you order noodles at a Japanese restaurant, the only options are pretty much just ramen noodles and udon. Or, if the restaurant is particularly authentic they may also be serving up soba or somen. But apparently, these hōtō noodles are a rare treat even in Japan, and are a regional dish unique to the Yamanashi prefecture. I’ve heard that they are actually one of the oldest forms of noodles in the country. Ingredient wise, they are pretty similar to udon noodles but other than that, the texture, appearance, and preparation of hōtō is quite different. The noodles are very thin and flat, and when cooked they are almost two inches wide!
Buried under this pile of veggies are the noodles. I’m sure this is not the exact authentic way to serve the noodles, but I did what I could, and it was delicious! Just like with other noodle dishes in Japan, hōtō can be prepared either hot or cold. I think I’ll wait until the weather cools down a bit before I attempt a nice big bowl of hōtō with a hot miso broth, pumpkin, mushrooms, and other seasonal autumn vegetables. But this time, I went with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, romaine lettuce and sweet onions, topped with tahini, sesame seeds, and soy sauce.