- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Ishikawa Prefecture was once known as a production area of the somen (thin noodles). In Wajima City, Okunoto, which used to be a major production area, the production of somen was rooted in the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573) and has a longer history than the lacquerware “Wajimanuri”. In the Edo period (1603-1868), the reputation grew even more, and it was exported to various regions. The common people used it as a specialty gift, and the famous brands were even used as a gift to the shogun (general). However, by the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989), it declined as an industry, and the specialty was replaced by Wajimanuri. The "Daimon Somen" made in Tonami City's Daimon district in Toyama Prefecture is said to have been handed down from Noto through medicine peddlers in the late Edo period. The vestiges of the production center of somen can be seen in the local dish, "Eggplant Somen", eaten in Kanazawa City. “Eggplant Somen" is a dish of simmered eggplant and somen. Since the somen are simmered softly, they are eaten more like nimono (simmered dishes) than noodle dishes.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is still made daily as a light side dish during hot weather or when one is suffering from summer fatigue and lacks an appetite. In the past, it was often prepared as a Bon Festival dish, but nowadays it is served at any time of the year because ingredients are available year-round.
As a local dish of Kanazawa City, it is a combination of leftover somen noodles and eggplant, and is served as a stew or soup. Recently, it is also served at more restaurants.
- How to eat
First, boil the sliced eggplant in soup stock. When the eggplant is cooked to a certain degree, add the pre-boiled somen noodles, let them simmer for a minute, and eat. It is usually seasoned with soy sauce, but some households choose to use miso. There is no fixed recipe, and each household has its own way of making it, such as boiling dried somen noodles. It can be eaten hot or cold. The texture of Soumen varies greatly depending on how well it is simmered. It takes some practice to cook somen noodles and eggplant well.
It is also called "Eggplant Soumen Kabushi" because the taste of the eggplant and the Soumen that has been covered with the color of soy sauce (meaning "dyed" in the dialect) after simmering becomes blended with the taste of the eggplant, making it delicious.
The use of heta-murasaki eggplant, a brand-name vegetable grown in Kanazawa City, adds a unique sweetness to the dish, making it even more delicious.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It can be purchased at local supermarkets and delicatessens. It is still eaten daily as a home-cooked dish.