Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Three Hiyashi Chuka (plus one)

Yes, I waited until the end of Summer to finally get around in posting this. Way to go me!
I wanted to include a few more samplings but here are three Hiyashi Chuka (plus a Hiyashi Somen) I had this summer.

Hiyashi Chuka is a cold noodle dish popular in Japan and is usually offered only in the Summer. "Hiyashi Chuka" translates to Chilled Chinese (Noodles) but I found it was actually invented in Japan in the late 1930's. Some seem to even refer it as a Japanese Summer Salad.. Hmm, never thought of it that way, but in any case I would guess the "Chuka" portion of the name came about from the Ramen type noodles used.

So first we have one from Tajima.

Hiyashi Chuka ($8.95).


Slices of poached Chicken, the nice Chasu used in their Ramen, Kinshi Tamago (shredded thin omelet), Shrimp, Wakame Seaweed, Cucumber, Shoga Ginger and Kikurage Mushrooms topped with a bit of Shiso, Sesame Seeds and Kizami Nori.



The tsuyu was the straight non-sesame type and was quite potent. I like that though especially when it is provided in a dipping cup like here. The garnishes for these were Chopped Scallions, Grated Ginger and Karashi Japanese Hot Mustard.



I personally find the ginger an uncommon addition for a Hiyashi Chuka type Tare dipping sauce. It left me with a slight bitter aftertaste by the time I was done so I'll just remember not to use it next time. The Hot Mustard is popular though and a warning that a little goes a long way. :)

The variety of protein was nice here and I would order this again. This was listed on their Specials Board so I'm not sure if it is available daily.

Tajima, 4681 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

Next is from Santouka in the Mitsuwa Market Food Court. I was pretty excited to try this.

Hiyashi Chuka ($8.49). The Chasu Gohan seen to the side is extra.


It is topped with Santouka's famous fatty Chasu Pork with a good sprinkling of Sesame Seeds and Kaiware Daikon Sprouts. The other "toppings" here were given on a separate plate which included Kikurage, par-boiled Moyashi (bean sprouts), very fine Kinshi Tamago, Cucumber and Shoga. Of course also with a smidgen of Hot Mustard.



The Chasu seems to lose some flavor when eaten cold but it was still great. My only qualm was that the two slices given were such a tease. They need to do a "Chasu Hiyashi Chuka" version where they load up on these.



They do give you a lot of noodles though (which were shock-chilled to perfect firmness) so you will definitely come out full.
The Tare sauce here resides on the bottom of the plate which is common. This Tare was the biggest surprise where it was extremely quiet and not at all punchy (sweet/tart) that I usually expect with this type of Hiyashi Chuka sauce. I can only guess it was Santouka's way of a calculated move to let the patron's enjoy every last bite of their springy noodles and Chasu.

While I'm still in debate over the preference of this, I did finish every last bite.. :)


The Chasu Gohan side I also got ($2.49) wasn't necessary. The additional protein was nice but I really didn't need those extra carbs.



So if you missed the opportunity this year for some Santouka Hiyashi Chuka, keep an eye out for this sign next year.



Santouka Ramen, 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd, San Diego, CA 92111 (Mitsuwa Market Food Court)

Last of the Hiyashi Chuka for this post we have one from Izakaya Sakura.
Included Chicken, Moyashi, Wakame, Kinshi Tamago, Shoga, Cucumber and Corn while topped with a generous amount of Scallions, Sesame Seeds and Kizami Nori.

Hiyashi Chuka ($8.50).


The sauce also residing on the bottom had a good balance of Sweet and Tart flavors for me personally but also had some nice Sesame Paste flavor. This wasn't a straight up Sesame Sauce of some Hiyashi Chuka that I had in the past but somewhere in between.
Along with the hot mustard on the parameter of the bowl was some Mayo.

Although this is mainly a Hiyashi Chuka post, Sakura has another Summer-only Cold Noodle Dish. The Hiyashi Somen.



This was served in Ice Water with some very fresh Cucumber and Tomato slices. You have this with the same Mentsuyu used for Cold Soba and Udon.



Also comes with an Onigiri which this day had a Salmon filling so it is a complete lunch ($8).



Although this dish was very refreshing, I would probably order the Cold Soba next time since I really enjoy the flavor of buckwheat noodles. Now if the Somen was served flowing down a Bamboo stream of water.. THAT would definitely sway me. :)



A newsreel of of a 3-Kilometer attempt record breaking Nagashi Somen here.

As long as the weather stays warm, I'm sure they'll keep serving the Hiyashi Chuka and Somen a while longer. But I'm personally looking forward to Fall and Winter. So until next year..

Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111

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