Do you know there are many kinds of noodles in Japan? Like Ramen, Soba, Some, spaghetti, Udon, and yakisoba … In this article, I want to introduce you Udon and where you can eat the best Udon in Japan.
Udon is a kind of noodles made of wheat flour. It is thicker than other noodles, and its thickness contributes to its unique taste and texture. When Udon noodles are boiled, the surface of noodles is soft while the inside is hard. The texture is sticky and this sticky chewy texture becomes an important characteristic of Udon. When you leave Udon in hot soup for a while, the noodles will take in the soup and the noodles will be softened, which destroys the texture of Udon noodles. So you’d better eat Udon with hot soup as soon as possible.
You can eat delicious Udon all over Japan, but the best place to enjoy Udon is Kagawa prefecture for sure. Udon in Kagawa prefecture is called Sanuki-Udon because Kagawa prefecture used to be called Sanuki. Kagawa is a prefecture on the Shikoku Island and it is located near Hiroshima-Hyogo area. So, for those who live in western Japan, it may not be so difficult to go there. The characteristics of Sanuki-Udon are its noodles with just-perfect texture and the soy sauce-based dashi soup. The soup of Sanuki-Udon gets its taste from the extract of Japanese anchovy, and some flavors like ginger, green onion and citrus are added to the soup. Some people might think the anchovy extract smells too fishy, but by adding flavors mentioned above, the fishy smell could be hidden and the savory (umami) taste becomes overwhelming. Sometimes, Udon restaurants will put Tempura and boiled egg on the noodles as topping.
Have you ever read Kafka on the Shore written by Haruki Murakami? He is the most popular Japanese novelist in the world. The leading character, Kafka Tamura, travels to Shikoku Island from Tokyo. The first place he visits is Takamatsu city in Kagawa prefecture. There he eats Sanuki-Udon near the Takamatsu station when he arrives. Murakami doesn’t mention the name of the restaurant in his book, but certainly, there is a Udon restaurant near the station. It is gonna be a good experience to visit there on the way if you want to travel with Kafka on the shore.
There are many other sightseeing spots in Kagawa Prefecture and Shikoku Island. I hope you can visit those traditional places in Japan someday.