The Best of Japanese Soul Food : UDON | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

The Best of Japanese Soul Food : UDON

By Guidable Writers Sep 12, 2016

Udon is one of the popular soul food.

Japan is a nation of noodle lovers. There are many kinds of noodles and people enjoy eating various types of noodle dishes at home. Among them, Udon, which are thick noodles made of wheat flour, is very popular and known as a representative food of Japan just as Soba. Udon is to Japanese what Spaghetti is to Italian. Udon is such a great food that a film was created. Japanese people love udon noodles.


How do we eat them?

There are row-type noodles, dried noodles and frozen noodles in the supermarket. You can also see some row-type boiled noodles that you can eat them quickly just by rinsing them with water. However, I would not recommend that because it makes noodles less chewy. I would recommend that you choose dried or frozen noodles.



Udon dishes are usually served with soup in bowls which called “donburi” and there are different kinds of soups. Sometimes people eat cold udon noodles or very hot udon dishes depending on the season. You can also enjoy various types of Udon dishes throughout a year.

I would say the most simple and popular udon dishe is “Kake udon” or “Kama-age udon”. “Kake udon” is a very simple udon dish. This is served in a broth without any toppings other than “Negi”. “Kama-age udon” is a popular udon dish and freshly boiled noodles with dipping sauce, soy sauce, or toppings such as “Negi”, row eggs and much more.


In addition, Japanese spices and “yakumi” is essential for enjoying Udon noodles. Here are some of Japanese spices and “Yakumi” that go well with Udon noodles.

Cold udon noodle dish, which is called “Zaru udon”, is served on a bamboo tray “zaru” and enjoy it especially in summer season. People eat cold noodles by dipping them into dipping sauce which is called “tsuyu”.



Any other popular udon noodles?

“Yaki udon” which literally means stir-fried udon noodles is also popular in Japan. It looks like “Yaki soba”. Noodles are fried with some vegetables and served with “Katsuobushi” topping on the top of them before eating.

In winter, “Nabe-yaki udon” or “Nikomi udon” is very common. “Nabe-yaki udon” is served in a hot pot which means “nabe”. “Nikomi udon” is stewed-udon noodle dish boiled in the soup seasoned with thick soy source, stocks and miso. It helps your body and mind warm up. You can also find a portion size plate of these udon noodles at supermarkets and convenience stores in winter, so you can try it easily. As famous “Nikomi udon” dishes, “Miso nikomi udon” in Nagoya and “Houtou” in Yamanashi are very popular.
“Curry udon” is also a good choice. You can imagine that udon noodles are served in curry soup based on Japanese soup, which is called “tsuyu”, including stock which called “dashi”.            

Dine out

Udon can be widely available across Japan and there are so many udon-ya (Udon shops) in Japan, so you can have access to them easily. Most low-cost chains offer udon dishes at a reasonable price, which costs between 500 and 1000 yen. At The following are popular udon chains in Japan. You can customize the udon dish by choosing topping as you like.

– Hanamaru Udon



– Marukame Seimen



The following originally comes from Osaka. They offer many fantastic udon noodle dishes in bowls as large as your face. They are also more expensive than the above chains but you can enjoy the sophisticated tastes.

– Tsurutontan


(For USA)