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Examining the secret recipe for Kyoto’s “Chuka no Sakai cold noodles” that are delicious even in winter

Sakai exterior

Cold noodles are a summer food, but Chuka no Sakai in Kyoto serves cold noodles even in the middle of winter. Not only does it serve these things, but it’s also so famous that people come from far and wide to try its cold noodles, and it’s even been recognized as the “Living National Treasure Next Door” as seen on TV.

Today, it’s been a while since I’ve eaten cold noodles, so I’d like to introduce Japan’s best cold noodles and think about the secret recipe.

What is Chuka no Sakai?

The Chinese restaurant Sakai began in 1933 when it opened a store in the middle of Shin-Omiya Street, a shopping street east of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto.At that time, it was a Chinese restaurant that had a reputation among locals for its delicious Chinese noodles.

Before we knew it, cold noodles surpassed Chinese noodles and became a specialty among locals, and soon word of mouth that cold noodles were delicious spread to other prefectures, and we even began shipping locally.

Although it is a small store, there is a room on the second floor of the main store that can accommodate up to 50 people. It is a restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Chinese course meals, and they also serve delicious food that rivals high-end Chinese restaurants.

Ham cold noodles

ham cold noodles

Chuka no Sakai’s cold noodles come in ham and grilled pork, but we recommend the ham cold noodles. The ingredients for the cold ham noodles are simple: roast ham, cucumber, and chopped seaweed, but the noodles and soup that the previous owner has carefully prepared are a masterpiece that you will never find at other restaurants.

cold noodle ingredients

The soup tastes like chicken stock with mayonnaise and mustard, and the refreshing acidity brings out the richness.

The noodles are chewy with medium-thick egg noodles. Its distinctive feature is that it looks like it has a thin, transparent film on its surface, and even though it’s straight noodles, it coats the soup well and goes down smoothly, making it a type of noodle that you won’t find at other restaurants.

cold noodle soup

secret noodles

“Chuka no Sakai” Cold Noodle Secret Recipe

I once asked the previous owner of the restaurant, who invented cold noodles, about the soup and noodles, but of course he couldn’t tell me about it, saying it was a trade secret. Apparently, the noodles were specially ordered from a partner noodle manufacturer, and it took a lot of hard work to make them after making many prototypes.

In the end, I couldn’t find out the recipe for the soup or the secret behind the noodles, so I decided to think about it myself.

Consider cold noodle recipes

Chinese noodles are generally made from wheat flour, brine, water, additives, and auxiliary ingredients, but since the noodles at “Chuuka no Sakai” have a thin transparent film on the surface, they are probably made with potato starch or arrowroot starch.

The soup is closest to chicken broth and mustard mayonnaise, but I think it’s not that simple, but rather long-simmered chicken broth and homemade mustard mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is generally made with egg yolks, salad oil, vinegar, and salt, but I think that “Chuka no Sakai” uses chicken oil (chiyu) instead of salad oil.

check the soup

I didn’t make noodles, but I tried making soup while imagining something like this, and the result was pretty close, so I’m pretty sure it’s almost perfect.

Author’s note

I thought about the recipe while eating cold noodles, but even if I could make similar cold noodles, considering the time and cost, I think the correct answer would be to go to “Chuka no Sakai”.



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