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Marushiro Shiroishi Umen (Shiroishi Umen noodles)

Shiroishi Umen noodles are a traditional food representative of Miyagi prefecture. The specialty product from the city of Shiroishi in Miyagi prefecture has a 400-year history. Though made with wheat like udon and hiyamugi noodles, these noodles are an especially thin kind of somen noodle. (Somen noodles are thinner than hiyamugi, which are thinner than udon noodles.) They are most distinctive for being the shortest noodles in Japan, at just 9 cm. This means that anyone can easily cook them as long as they have a pot. It is said that Shiroishi Umen (the word “Umen” is written with the characters for “warm” and “noodles”) was named by the feudal lord of Shiroishi castle, Kojuro Katakura, with the notion that the “noodles are warmly welcoming and made with compassion for others.” The noodles slide easily down the throat and can be enjoyed all year long, eaten cold in summer and hot in winter. Plus, since they are made only with flour and salt water, they are easily digested and gentle to the stomach.