LA Area Mugi Toro and Somen
Anybody have recommendations for Mugi Toro or Somen in the LA area? I saw a show called "Dotch" Saturday night on Channel 18. It's one of those strange Japanese game shows where they had competing chefs cook up their best version of the two dishes. (The mugi toro chef won.) The show gave me some serious cravings for this stuff. I fear mugi toro might be "too Japanese" to find here.
I'm giving this old post a "bump" because last weekend's episode of Dotchi no Ryori Sho on Channel 18 featured the same contest, and it was fascinating. (I just started watching this wonderful, zany show a few weeks ago thanks to Chowhound and our brand-new DirecTV DVR.)
In particular, the cold somen on this show looked amazing--they used an an extremely-high-end artisanal variety of the noodles, and took you out to the "factory" to see the manufacturing process in more detail than you could imagine. You can get a pretty fair plate of cold noodles at Ramen-ya (they used to have an unusual "Italian-style" cold ramen with a yummy marinated tomato in the middle, but I haven't seen it the last few times I've been in). But the stuff on the Dotch show was on a whole 'nother plane of noodle-ness. The implication on the show was that you could only get these noodles at a few premium places in Japan, but I have been wondering all week if there's anywhere in LA that you can get these really top-quality, skinny, stretchy cold noodles either at a restaurant or at the store to make at home . . . Anyone?
As for the mugitoro (grated yam over barley rice), well . . . it looked suitably sticky and sloppy and "healthy" served over premium rice, with grilled tongue on the side as the "standard" side order (why?), and weird as it is I wouldn't refuse to eat it, and wouldn't mind a recommendation either
I've only started posting a few days ago, but was pleasantly surprised to see "somen" picked up as a topic!
If you want to try some at home, you can pick up somen at Japanese markets like Nijiya and Mitsuwa, but not the top-quality ones. That goes the same with other Japanese noodles, such as soba and udon. You simply can't get the "best" noodles (like the ones introduced in that show, which I watch almost every week) in a package that are sold at stores. As you saw in the show, somen is more of a seasonal dish that is served during the summer time in Japan. Many restaurants that serve noodles will add somen dishes as a "limited-time only" item to their menu during June ~ August/Sept. Special/top-quality somen noodles are sometimes sold at markets in limited quantities during those months (they'll hold a somen "fair" or "festival" and sell-out very quickly). If I come across any places that serve good somen in the upcoming months, I will make sure to post.
As for the mugitoro and grilled tongue, Yuzu in Torrance has it as one of their special lunch items (grilled tongue, yama-imo on the side, rice is plain white rice, not mixed with mugi, salad, pickles/tsukemono and miso soup). I believe it was around $12 for the set? I've only been there twice, but they had it on the "Daily Lunch Special" both times.
1231 Cabrillo Av #101 Torrance, CA 90501
Phone - 310 533 9898