Japanese love noodles. Soba, thin buckwheat noodles, and udon, thick white wheat noodles, are both served either chilled with a soy-based dip or hot in the form of a noodle soup depending on the season or region. The chilled noodles are called zaru soba or zaru udon , which are served in a flat bamboo basket. Do NOT pour the sauce over the noodles as it will end up all over the table and on your lap.

With your chopsticks, take some noodles and dip about half way into the sauce. Do not soak them. Then quickly bring the noodles to your mouth and suck them in! Start with small bites until you master the art of slurping.

Two of the most popular hot varieties of soba and udon are interestingly named kitsune (fox), which is topped with sweetened deep fried tofu pockets, and tanuki (raccoon-dog), which features deep-fried pieces of flour batter. Don’t worry; fox or raccoon-dogs are not eaten in Japan!

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