Summer’s ultimate delight: Hiyashi Chuka, cold noodle bliss!
Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華) is a popular Japanese dish that originated as a summertime favourite. Hiyashi means "chilled" in Japanese, while Chuka refers to Chinese-style cuisine. This dish features cold noodles topped with an assortment of colourful ingredients and a flavourful dressing, making it a refreshing and satisfying meal, especially during hot weather.
A dish that holds cultural significance in Japan, hiyashi chuka gained popularity in the mid-20th century and is now commonly enjoyed during the summer months. Many Japanese restaurants and food stalls offer this special noodle dish as a seasonal specialty. It is also a favourite dish for home cooks who want to enjoy a light and refreshing meal that is easy to prepare.
(Image credit: photoAC)
The foundation of Hiyashi Chuka is the noodles. Traditionally, thin, wavy egg noodles are used, but variations with ramen or soba noodles can also be found. The noodles are cooked until al dente, then rinsed under cold water to stop the cooking process. Chilling the noodles helps them retain their firmness and chewy texture.
What sets this apart from other noodle dishes is its vibrant assortment of toppings. The toppings can vary based on personal preference, but common choices include thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, bean sprouts, and shredded omelette. These toppings add a refreshing crunch and a burst of colour to the dish. Other popular additions include ham, chicken, shrimp, or crab meat, providing additional protein and flavour.
(Image credit: Pakutaso)
To tie all the components together, Hiyashi Chuka is dressed with a flavourful sauce. The dressing typically consists of shoyu (醤油 soy sauce), vinegar, sesame oil, and occasionally a touch of sugar or honey. This combination creates a tangy and savoury flavour profile that enhances the overall taste of the dish. The dressing is poured over the chilled noodles and toppings, infusing every bite with a delightful blend of flavours. You can also make your own homemade sauce to best fit your palette.
If you would like to try Hiyashi Chuka, keep your eyes peeled for signs like this! (Image credit: JAPAN RAIL CAFE)
All in all, Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese dish that features chilled noodles, a variety of colourful toppings, and a flavourful dressing. It is a refreshing and customizable dish that provides a delightful combination of textures and flavours. Whether you enjoy it at a restaurant or prepare it at home, Hiyashi Chuka is a perfect choice for beating the summer heat while indulging in a delicious and satisfying meal.
Header image: photoAC