Image Source : Agricultural Management Division, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Kagawa Prefecture
- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Somen noodles, eggplant
- History/origin/related events
This home-style dish is made with seasonal eggplant and Shodoshima's specialty somen noodles and flavored with red pepper, making it a perfect staple or side dish. Somen is a convenient ingredient to have on hand when there is not enough rice to go around, and as the saying goes, "let the eggplant hold the somen," eggplant somen is a dish that is widely popular among housewives because it is very easy to handle and does not require a great deal of skill. Eggplant is soft and hearty, and is said to help prevent summer fatigue, even in the hot summer months when people lack appetite.
Mitoyo eggplant, a variety grown in western Kagawa Prefecture that is about three times the size of a typical eggplant and has a softer skin, is often used.
Traditionally, eggplant somen was made with only chili peppers and somen noodles, but here, fried tofu and ginger are added.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Eggplant somen is a quick and easy way to get nutrients and is considered effective in preventing summer fatigue. Because it is suitable as both a staple food and a side dish, it is often served on summer tables at home, especially by farmers.
- How to eat
Cut a slit in the eggplant, soak in water to remove the scum, drain, place in a heavy pan, and fry in oil. Add fried bean curd and chili peppers, then simmer in iriko broth with sugar and soy sauce, and add hard-boiled somen noodles. It tastes even better if you add ginger or green onions as condiments. Whether the soup is served hot or cold, the eggplant and fried tofu soak up the broth and are delicious.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Eggplant somen" is still made at home in summer.
Mitoyo eggplant, which is used for eggplant somen, has been cultivated in the Mitoyo area since before World War II, and is said to be very tasty because of its thin skin and soft flesh that easily absorbs broth. In Mitoyo City, the Mitoyo Eggplant Research Association was established on April 13, 2010 to improve the cultivation techniques and increase the cultivated area of Mitoyo eggplants, and to promote Mitoyo eggplants as a brand product of Mitoyo City, as well as to promote local agriculture and friendship and cooperation among members.
Meanwhile, there are about 200 somen noodle makers on Shodoshima, some of which offer factory tours and work experience to tourists. Soumen noodles produced on Shodoshima can be found in supermarkets, but they are also highly recognized by people outside the prefecture and are often given as gifts such as mid-year gifts.