Little-known hack from a soba restaurant pro will give your noodles a professional look every time.

Today, on the last day of the year in Japan, people across the country are preparing to eat toshikoshi soba, or “Year Crossing Soba“, which are extra long buckwheat noodles designed to help you cut ties with all the bad luck from the previous year as you cross over to a new one.

▼ The extra long noodles are also a wish for longevity in the new year.

With most people cooking up noodles at home, now is the perfect time to share a very cool presentation hack that not many people know about. And the great thing is, it works with any type of noodle, whether it be Year Crossing noodles or regular soba, udon or ramen.

Our reporter Go Hatori is the one sharing the hack with us today, using a skill he learned when he received his chef’s license from a Japanese soba restaurant. He’d like to pass on what he learned in the field, and all you need to follow along is a bowl of freshly boiled noodles, with the hot broth poured over them.

When people make noodles at home, this is what the end result usually looks like.

In a country that prides itself on perfect presentation, a bowl of noodles like this wouldn’t make the cut in most soba restaurants. And that’s where Go’s hack comes in. Are you ready to change your noodle presentation habits forever? Then take a look at Go’s movements below.

As you can see, all you need to do is lift a large clump of noodles above the bowl with your chopsticks, and then lay them down in a folding motion, moving them towards you before laying the noodles nearest your chopsticks on the surface of the broth on the far side of the bowl.

▼ It takes seconds to do, but the end result is dramatically different.

▼ Before (left) and after (right)

If you want to get really fancy with your noodles for a big occasion like New Year’s, you can add some greens and a couple of prawn tempura on top for a restaurant-worthy look.

Go cheated by buying his prawn tempura ready-made from the supermarket, but with professional-looking presentation like this, nobody would be able to tell the meal isn’t handmade.

So next time you’re looking to impress guests with a meal of noodles, or simply want to zhuzh up a bowl for yourself, don’t forget to try Go’s hack. It only takes three seconds to make your noodles look like the soba you’d eat at a fancy restaurant, so there’s no reason not to give it a try!

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[ Read in Japanese ]