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Cold Ume Somen - Soba-Style

Patricia Reitz

When one of my daughters visited Japan, she brought home a package of pink noodles (ume somen). Traditionally, they're drizzled with a spicy dressing and served cold on very hot days.  The noodles, which get their lovely color from plums, have a delicately sweet flavor which pairs so nicely with the spicy dressing.  The noodles are hard to find in the US, but if you come across them, do yourself a favor and grab several packages.  If you can't find them, you can make the same tasty dish by substituting white somen or buckwheat soba noodles.  

Bring salted water to a boil.

Aren't these noodles awesome looking?  I adore them.  I need more of them!

Boil, stirring occasionally, like any other pasta, but keep a close eye on them because they cook very quickly.  

Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Check it out - the pasta water turned pink!

spicy cold ume somen noodles recipe (japanese plum noodles)

Toss with spicy dressing, shopped cilantro, chopped scallions, and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.  Enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:

Cold Ume Somen (Japanese Plum Noodles)

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 8 ounces Ume Somen (plum noodles) or white somen or buckwheat soba noodles

  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 1/3 cup canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed

  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

  • sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Cook noodles in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until al dente. They should be soft enough to eat, but not get mushy.

  2. Rinse noodles in cold water and drain well.

  3. Place noodles in a large bowl and toss with a drizzle of canola oil to prevent them from sticking together.

  4. In a medium bowl, make dressing by whisking together rice vinegar, canola oil, sriracha, toasted sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.

  5. Pour dressing over noodles, vegetables, cilantro, and scallions; toss well to coat. Serve immediately.


  • You can add thinly julienned vegetables if desired (4 cups thinly julienned vegetables (carrots, radishes, zucchini, cabbage, snow peas, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc).