The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

 

Although not as popular as ramen, udon is slowly gaining recognition not just in Japan, but all over the world. It's the ultimate noodle comfort food which can be served and prepared in many ways. Made from wheat flour, water, and salt, udon noodles are typically two to four millimeters thick and commonly served in a hot dashi broth or served chilled in the summer. They also tend to be chewier and thicker than soba noodles (which are made using buckwheat).

These are some common types of udon you will find in Japan:

Types of Udon

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Kake Udon

Kake udon can serve as a base for many warm udon dishes. It is made by boiling udon noodles and placing them in a donburi bowl with hot tsuyu (broth) poured on top. As you eat the noodles with your chopsticks, many people lift the bowl to drink the soup at the same time, however, a large spoon is usually provided when serving. Garnishes are usually scallions, shichimi, sesame seeds, or ginger.

Sometimes it is served with tempura on top thus turning it from kake udon to tempura udon. Many shops will serve this with shrimp tempura unless stated otherwise. Udon served with kakiage (vegetables) on top is referred to as “kakiage udon”. Depending on the region of Japan, tempura udon is topped with satsuma-age fish cakes too.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune udon is a warm udon served with sliced or whole deep-fried tofu known as aburaage. The name of the dish translates into "fox udon" and refers to an old folk tale which suggests that foxes are great admirers of deep fried aburaage. 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Curry Udon

Curry udon is also a very popular style of udon. It it especially good in the winter because the warmth of the curry and spices that go into it. It is often made by adding leftover curry to udon noodles or dissolving the curry roux directly into the udon soup.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Yaki Udon

Deviating from the soup udons is yaki udon. This dish is made by taking boiled udon noodles and stir-frying it it with sliced vegetables, meat or seafood, and finished with a fragrant sauce.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Zaru Udon

Zaru udon is made by dipping the cooked udon noodles in cold water to cool them down and served in a flat basket. This udon is usually served cool at room temperature and is served with a dipping sauce (tsuyu) on the side.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Udon Noodles

Bukkake Udon

Bukkake udon is made by pouring cold broth over chilled noodles, then topping the entire dish with a variety of different garnishes. The broth consists of kaeshi (soy sauce, sugar, and mirin) combined with dashi, while the garnishes can be anything from grated daikon, scallions, onsen egg, natto, ginger, okra, bonito flakes, and/or tempura pieces.

 

About the author:

Samantha Kwok

Samantha Kwok

Samantha is currently a 5th-year JET in Okinawa, originally from Hawaii. She has been somewhat connected to Japanese culture her whole life despite being Chinese American. She's had the privilege of traveling to Japan and experiencing Japanese culture at a young age. She loves food and is always looking to try new places. When she is not working or out eating, she is an avid baker at home and has been known to feed her colleagues an excessive amount of baked goods.

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