Udon noodles are white noodles made from plain flour (not rice flour) and salted water. A Japanese staple for more than a thousand years, udon was introduced to Japanese cuisine in the Nara period (奈良時代), AD 710-794.
There are many varieties of udon, as each region boasts of its own version. Here are some of the better known varieties:
Kishimen (棊子麺/きし麺) is a broad and flat udon noodles from Nagoya.
Hoto (ほうとう) is an extra thick udon from Yamanashi.
Inaniwa (稲庭) or Sato Yosuke (佐藤養助) udon is a thin hand-stretched noodle from the Inaniwa area of Akita
Sanuki-udon is arguably the best-known udon noodles. Originally from the Kagawa Prefecture, its name – Sanuki– refers to the previous name of Kagawa. This variety of udon became very popular due to its firm chewy texture and relatively chunky size.
How to enjoy Sanuki-udon?
There are more than a few ways to enjoy Sanuki-udon:
- Kake-udon – in a soy sauce-based stock called Kansai-Dashi
- Bukkake-udon – in a bit of Kansai-Dashi stock with a dash of stock-enhanced soy sauce called tsuyu
- Kama-Bukkake-udon – the same as Bukkake udon except that the udon is extra chewy
- Kamatama-udon – Bukkake-udon with a raw fresh egg yolk
- Shoyu-udon – without soup and just a dash of tsuyu
- Kamaage-udon – served in a clear stock but to be enjoyed dipped in a bowl of tsuyu
- Yudame-udon – Exactly the same as Kamaage-udon except that the udon went through a ice cold bath in between two hot baths to become even more chewy
- Shippoku-udon – The noodles went through the ice cold shock like in Yudame-udon but served hot in a clear hot vegetable dashi stock
- Zaru-udon – served chilled on a bamboo mat and enjoyed dipped in a bowl of tsuyu
- Tanuki-udon – served in a hot broth topped with leftover deep fried tempura batter (tenkasu)
- Kitsune-udon – served in a hot broth with aburaage, a thinly sliced fried tofu
- Chikara-udon – served in a hot broth with a rice cake (mochi)
- Sara-udon (長崎皿うどん) is a stir-fried udon dish from Nagasaki
- Nabeyaki-udon is a udon noodles soup cooked and served in a hot pot (nabe) often topped with tempura
One should enjoy udon as they do it in Japan: with a loud slurp!
Enjoy freshly-made Sanuki-udon at 釜う Kamau
釜う Kamau is a traditional udon restaurant in the busy Asakusa area of Tokyo.
Like in all ramen shops in Japan, you can easily order and pay for your food at the vending machine at the entrance of the restaurant. Here at 釜う Kamau, you can enjoy all the different ways listed above to eat Sanuki-udon.
Here is how to get to 釜う Kamau
〒111-0032 Tokyo, Taito City, Asakusa, 2 Chome−15−2