How to find good udon noodle restaurants?


What's "UDON"?

"Udon" is one of the most popular Japanese noodles.
It's made from wheat flour, salt and water. We roll the dough into a thin sheet and cut it into narrow strips.
We usually eat it in hot soup or with dipping sauce. Hot soup and dipping sauce are made from soy sauce and soup stock, which is made from bonito flakes and/or kombu seaweed and/or small dried sardines etc... .

"Sanuki Udon" is the most famous for its delicious taste in Japan. "Sanuki" is the region name of Kagawa prefecture. The flour made in Kagawa is suitable for the udon.

If you visit (or live in !?) Kagawa, please try the udon noodles.

How to find "good" udon noodle restaurants?

"Good udon" means cheap and delicious one.
In most noodle restaurants for tourists, the taste of the udon may not be so bad, but expensive, so I don't recommend them.
You are sure to find "good" restaurants in which they can serve cheaper and more delicious one. The local people usually go to such good restaurants. Most of them have their own favorite udon restaurant(s).

Queue

How do we look for good udon noodle restaurants?
It's easy. All you have to do is to walk (or ride a bicycle if possible) around near your place in Kagawa at 12:00 on week days. You will see the local people queuing in front of a good noodle restaurant. They are queuing from 12:00 until 12:30 or 12:45.

If you find a good restaurant, you will be able to try delicious udon, it costs only from 200 yen to 400 yen.

How to eat udon noodles?

We need some knacks of eating udon.
First, we have to order correctly. Secondly, we choose additional flavors to suit our taste.

At first, watch what the local people are doing in the restaurant, and you will understand how to order and eat udon.

There are three points to order

Generally, there are two types of udon*, as follows:
"Kake" : hot udon in hot soup
"Zaru" : cold udon eaten with dipping sauce
* There is a minor type of udon called "Kama-age." : hot udon eaten dipped into sauce
** In case you can't find 'Zaru' in the menu lists in the restaurant, you must say "Tsumetai-no" or "Sonomama."

UDON

There are three sizes of udon, as follows:
"Sho" : small
"Chu" : medium
"Dai" : large

...and, you must choose whether to order "Tempura" or not. "Tempura" is Japanese deep-fried food. If you order it, you have to decide how many you want.

We count tempura:
"Hito-tsu" : one
"Futa-tsu" : two
"Mit-tsu" : three

For example, when you order medium sized hot udon with one tempura, we say "Kake. Chu. Tempura hito-tsu." If you'd like small sized cold udon without tempura, you say "Zaru. Sho."

After you have ordered

In some restaurants, when you order "kake," you have to warm the noodle yourself. In this case, put the udon in the colander and steep it in boiling hot water in the pot for a few seconds.

And, in most restaurants, you can get additional flavors to udon by topping anything.

Perhaps you can select them:
"Negi" : green onion / the essential topping both in hot udon and cold udon
"Agedama (tenkasu)" : crispy crumbs of tempura batter / very common
"Goma" : sesame / It depends on your tastes.
"Shoga" : ginger / It depends on your tastes.
"Wasabi" : horse-radish / the essential topping only in chilled udon not in hot one

Now, you are ready to eat. Let's slurp back the udon noodles with chop-sticks.


There is nothing difficult to eat udon.
I hope you will enjoy eating Sanuki Udon.


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OKADA Tetsutaro tetsuta at mark ec.kagawa-u.ac.jp
Faculty of Economics, Kagawa University