Atsui! Beat the heat with Japanese summer dishes found at these Seattle restaurants

BY HANA LONG / JCCCW INTERN

Food is an important part of summer culture, no matter where you are. In America, we have our own summer food traditions. Many times it is chasing the ice cream truck down the street or eating a whole watermelon. Japan has their own unique foods made for the summer time, too.

Fortunately, you do not have to go all the way to Japan to try Japanese summer food staples. Here in Seattle, there are quite a few Japanese restaurants that make these dishes. Also, some are pretty simple and you can make at home.

So, what are the foods? Many of these foods are served cold like Hiyashi Chuka and Somen while others are hot like Unagi and Yakitori. There are also desserts like Kakigori and Mizu Yokan.

Hiyashi Chuka

 A Hiyashi Chuka served in Osaka. (Photo:  Yamaguchi Yoshiaki / Flickr / Creative Commons )

A Hiyashi Chuka served in Osaka. (Photo: Yamaguchi Yoshiaki / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Hiyashi Chuka is a noodle dish with cold ramen noodles topped off with eggs, different vegetables and meats, and sauce. Hurry Curry of Tokyo in South Lake Union is currently having Hiyashi Chuka for a summer special only.

Somen

 Sōmen (in large white bowl at upper-right) with assorted toppings. (Photo:  Shiba Inu / Flickr / Creative Commons )

Sōmen (in large white bowl at upper-right) with assorted toppings. (Photo: Shiba Inu / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Somen is another noodle dish that is served cold. Somen is a noodle made out wheat flour and popular across East Asia. In Japanese style somen, the noodles are dipped into the sauce. Momiji on Capitol Hill has their own take on Somen by serving Ikura Somen.

Unagi

 Unagi served on a bed of rice in Yokohama. ( Photo: City Foodsters / Flickr )

Unagi served on a bed of rice in Yokohama. (Photo: City Foodsters / Flickr)

Unagi is freshwater eel. This dish can be served many different ways but the most common way to eat it is to have cooked Unagi over a bowl of rice. You can try Unagi at Musashi’s in Wallingford.

Yakitori

 Chicken yakitori skewers. (Photo:  TAKA@P.P.R.S / Flickr )

Chicken yakitori skewers. (Photo: TAKA@P.P.R.S / Flickr)

Yakitori is a skewer with chicken. “Yaki” means grilled and “tori” means chicken. Yakitori is commonly found at Izakayas. Issian in Wallingford has yakitori and many other different types of skewers.

Kakigori

 Matcha, or green tea flavored Kakigori snow cone. (Photo:  Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons )

Matcha, or green tea flavored Kakigori snow cone. (Photo: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons)

Kakigori is the Japanese version of shaved ice. Kakigori is topped off with condensed milk and sometimes anko (red bean paste), mochi, and fruits. You can find Kakigori at Samurai Noodle in the University District and International District.

Mizu Yokan (recipe)

Yokan is a dessert that is think and jellied. It is usually made with anko (red bean paste) but sometimes with other beans. It can contain other things like azuki, chestnuts, etc. Mizu Yokan is just made with more water than Yokan making a great summertime snack. It is simple to make. Here is a recipe to make Mizu Yokan.