Updated: April 17, 2018
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6 Seasonal Dishes That Define Japan's Summer

Summer is here! There are some particular food and dishes like cold noodles that people like to eat during the hot and humid summer. Here is a list of typical Japanese summer dishes you should try.

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Kakigori (かき氷)

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Kakigori is a Japanese shaved ice. Kakigori is very common during summer in Japan. It is usually flavored with colorful syrup (popular ones; strawberry, lemon, grape, melon, condensed milk).
The one you can get from food stalls in festivals is simple, a shaved ice with syrup, but when you go to a cafe or restaurant, you can have a more luxury kakigori, fluffy shaved ice with many toppings. When summer comes, many stores start to serve kakigori.

Somen (素麺/そうめん)

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Somen is very thin white noodles made of wheat flour. It is served cold with a cold dipping sauce called "men tsuyu" that is sweet and savory. As somen is such thin and light, it is easy to eat even you have lost appetite in hot summer.
There is also a famous way of eating somen, called "nagashi somen", where the noodles are placed in a long flume of bamboo and they flow along the flume with clear water. As the noodles pass by, you catch the noodles with your chopsticks and dip them in your tsuyu.

Zaru soba/udon (ざるそば/うどん)

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Zaru soda/udon is a kind of soba or udon noodles served cold with a dipping sauce. Just like somen, they are very common in summer because it can make you cool down. They usually come with some condiments called "yakumi" such as chopped green onions, grated ginger, wasabi, sesames, grated yam, myoga (Japanese ginger), and so on.

Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華)

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Hiyashi Chuka is a cold ramen noodles topped with several colorful ingredients. The popular toppings are shredded cucumbers, very thin omelet, ham. There are basically two types of flavors, the one is made from vinegar and soy sauce, and the other is made from sesame.
These cold noodles including somen, soda, and udon, are the Japanese comfort food that are cooked and eaten at home during summer.

Unagi (うなぎ)

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Unagi (鰻/うなぎ) means eel and they usually eat eel by grilling and seasoning with rich sweet and savory sauce topped on rice (this dish is called unaju). The reason why the Japanese eat unagi in summer is that it is believed the nutrition of unagi such as vitamin can help recovering from the summer heat fatigue. There is a particular day called "doyo no ushinohi (土用の丑の日)" when people eat eel as a tradition.

Mizu Yokan (水ようかん)

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Mizu Yokan is a simple dessert made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar. The texture is soft and like a jelly and you can taste the natural sweetness of red beans. Yokan usually refers this red bean jelly, and when it is chilled, it is called mizu (means water) yokan.

Make your summer in Japan complete with these famous summer dishes!

haru
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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