How to Throw a Noodle Party: KK Tries Nagashi Somen
I simply couldn’t think of anything better to call this post other than Noodle Party, but then I said it out loud. It sounds kind of dirty, so I did what I always do when I hear a new, vaguely inappropriate term. I checked Urban Dictionary.
One definition is dirty, seems inaccurate, and messy. There is a grammar mistake in the explanation. The second definition sounds like an inside joke. Despite these definitions, I think Noodle Party captured the playful and mysterious vibe that party was based on.
You might be asking why I’ve decided to talk about this party now. The truth is, I have been reminiscing of that weather since Portland has just come out of the grip of “The Snowpocalypse.” At the time of the party, last September, the weather was perfect for such a refreshing activity: not too hot but warm enough to be comfortable. But enough about the weather; on to the good stuff!
What is Nagashi Sōmen?
So what is it? Nagashi Sōmen literally means flowing noodle. I got some weird looks trying to explain what it is. Most people haven’t heard it but that’s because it’s a summertime Japanese tradition. Usually, during the hotter months, a few bamboo shoots are cut down, hollowed out, and rigged up to become bamboo chutes! See! See, what I did there?!?
Essentially, a flume is created by running water through the connected bamboo, creating a giant waterslide for noodles to flow down. The catch? You literally have to catch. The noodles float down with the water and guests, using chopsticks, fish out the noodles. Then they dip it in a delicious, cool tsuyu sauce and into their mouths it goes. Crazy right?
Why did I throw a Noodle Party?
I found out about it through this amazing anime: Gourmet Girl Graffiti. In this anime, an art school student and her cousin cook up different Japanese dishes and bond over how it makes them feel.
I love Japanese food. Pretty sure if I could only eat sushi & real ramen every day, I would. But through this anime and my own exploration, I have learned there are so many different Japanese dishes I’d never heard of, such as Nagashi Sōmen! Ever since I watched the episode about it, I thought it would be a cool party idea. Onto my bucket list, it went!
How’d it go?
Aw man. It was fantastic. Everyone was wowed. I was wowed. Jared, my boyfriend, would probably tell you that I was anxious about pulling it off, but it was fun and so gorgeous! We spent all day eating, drinking, and flowing noodles. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to work at my own parties, and I was too busy running around like an idiot during the thing to take any pictures. So Jared and I woke up early the next day and made this video!
Tips for next time?
DEFINITELY DOING IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR. However, we’ll have people bring their own mugs to swirl their noodles in. People are less likely to lose or throw them out that way. Also less clean-up. Another thing: I also tried to make this a wings party. Next time, I am just going to order wings - that was just a little too much to juggle.
Lastly, I might make a chalkboard or something that lays out “the rules/tips”. Although there aren’t really rules per se, I should have made more of an emphasis on trying to share and not poach all the noodles away from everyone. You know who you are. Another nice tip for everyone would have been that these noodles are deceptively filling. We only went about 4 rounds or so, and there were about 30-40 people who attended.
Despite some kinks here and there, it was such a success! I was so happy to bring a new experience to everyone. Below I have listed a few resources for you if you want to give it a try yourself! Please feel free to comment if you’ve done this before, or if you have any questions about how we pulled it off.
Resources & Tips for anyone who wants to try at home
We got our bamboo at Bamboo Craftsman. NOTE: Their bamboo is dried. Fresh bamboo is better, if you can get it.