The Traditional Japanese Noodle Dish That Features Mountain Yam

Japan's food scene is world-famous for a reason, and many of its staple dishes, from fresh sushi to lux wagyu beef to crispy tempura, have become international hits. And we can't forget about ramen. Ramen noodles are popular worldwide, with some swearing by their local grocery store's packets and others taking a voyage to Japan to try some fresh from a restaurant for themselves.

However, while ramen dishes may be some of the best-known Japanese food outside of the island nation, there are plenty more noodle varieties, from soba to sōmen to harusame. But the thick and chewy udon noodles are the real reason we have all gathered here today. According to Go Go Nihon, Udon noodles are the thickest type of Japanese noodle. Chewy and slurp-able, these white wheat-based noodles are most frequently served cold and dipped in sauce, but they can also be served in a broth. However, one of the best udon dishes out there that we'd suggest putting on your must-try list is the traditional hiyashi yamakake udon.

A noodle dish meant for summertime

If you're looking for a refreshing yet filling noodle dish, one perfect for a hot summer day, look no further than hiyashi yamakake udon. This chilled dish is easy to throw together in no time and only takes a few ingredients. According to The Spruce Eats, this dish starts with a pack of frozen udon noodles that need to be boiled. Ideally, frozen noodles are best, so they retain their springy texture and cook quickly, as per the site. The dish is also served with grated Japanese mountain yam, sometimes called nagaimo or yamaimo, as per The Spruce Eats. This unique ingredient introduces a satisfyingly sticky texture to the dish. When grated, it piles on top of the noodles like snow, adding a visually appealing element and a subtly sweet flavor among the savory ingredients, according to MasterClass.

All it takes to complete this simple dish is the optional placement of raw egg yolk on top. As MasterClass points out, when plopped in the center of the freshly grated yam, it appears as if a fluffy sunny-side egg was cracked on top of your noodles. Not only that, but the egg yolk also adds a lovely richness. Other easy garnishes can include strips of seaweed for salty umami and freshly chopped green onion for a bit of a bite. This traditional dish is not worth passing up the next time you're craving a refreshing hint of summer.