(Various kinds of hot udon, Soup of hot udon, Cold udon, Regional varieties, Special udon)

Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle, and one of the representative noodles of Japan. Though it is eaten throughout Japan, it is more popular in western Japan than in eastern Japan, and there are various differences between eastern and western Japan. Udon noodles are served chilled and hot, and have various kinds of them.

Various kinds of hot udon

The names of hot udon depend on the topping.
  • Kake udon(Su udon)

    Hot udon in soup topped with chopped green onions and perhaps a few slices of kamaboko fish cake. Called "kake udon" in eastern Japan, and "su udon " in western Japan. You can simply enjoy soup and noodles.

  • Tempura udon

    Topped with tempura, especially prawn or kakiage(a type of mixed tempura fritter). Tempura makes udon a luxurious meal.

  • Kitsune udon

    Topped with sweetened aburaage(thinly deep-fried tofu pokets). Kitsune means fox. They say that fox likes aburaage in Japan.

  • Tanuki udon

    Topped with Tenkasu(deep-fried batter). Though this is generally known as "Tanuki udon", this is called "Haikara udon" in Osaka. Tanuki means racoon dog.

  • Tsukimi udon

    Topped with raw egg. Eggs in Japan can be eaten raw. Tsukimi means moon-viewing. Because yolk looks like the moon, and egg white like cloud.

  • Wakame udon

    Topped with wakame seaweed.

  • Chikara udon

    Topped with mochi rice cake, whichi is generally toasted. Chikara means "Power".

  • Yamakake udon

    Topped with grated yamaimo(japanese yam).

  • Niku(meat) udon

    Topped with meat (beef or pork) cooked in the mixture of soysauce, sake, mirin and so on.

  • Kizami udon

    Topped with chopped abura-age(thinly deep-fried tofu). This is different from "Kitsune udon", and not eaten except Kansai region.

  • The other ingredients and spice

    Sliced japanese leeks in eastern Japan, chopped green onions in western Japan, tororo konbu, ofu, etc. Generally splinke ichimi red pepper or shichimi red pepper, in Kyushu region add yuzu pepper.

Soup of hot udon

Dark brown soup, which is made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi) and dashi stock prepared from dried bonito (katsuo), is used in eastern Japan, and light brown soup, which is made from light soy sauce (usukuchi) and dashi stock prepared kelp (konbu) and dried bonito, is used in western Japan. The former has a thick taste, and the latter has a light taste. People in eastern Japan have both dark brown and light brown soup, but people in western Japan never use dark brown soup.

Cold udon

Cold udon, which is called "zaru udon", is served on a zaru plate, topped finely sliced nori laver, and accompanied with chilled dipping sauce. Grated wasabi, ginger and chopped green onions are usually used as spice. Perhaps accompanied with tempura.

Regional varieties

  • Sanuki udon

    A thick and rather stiff type from Kagawa Prefecture, characterized by its square shape. One of the three major udon noodles and the most popular in Japan. So actually eaten throughout Japan, and in the world. "Sanuki" is the old name of Kawawa Prefecture, which takes the name of "Udon Prefecture". Generally eaten in light brown soup, but "kamatama udon", which is boiled udon mixed just with raw egg and soy sauce, is popular, too.
    There are five kinds of ways to eat in Sanuki udon.
    * Kama-tama udon; Put an raw egg in a bowl, and beat it. Then add boiled udon in the bowl, mix it. Season it with soy sauce or mentsuyu. Eggs in Japan can be eaten raw.
    * Kama-age udon; Put boiled udon and hot water used for boiling in a bowl together. Dip udon into hot mentsuyu and eat.
    * Kake udon; Hot udon in soup. Refer to above.
    * Zaru udon; Cold udon. Refer to above.
    * Bukkake udon; Rinse boiled udon with water, put it in a bowl. Then top with tenkasu, chopped green onion, thinly sliced nori laver, etc with your liking, and pour mentsuyu. Bukkake means "pour rough" in Japanese.

  • Inaniwa udon

    A thin dried type of udon from Akita Prefecture. One of the three major udon noodles in Japan. Eaten both hot and cold. High quality udon.

  • Joushu udon

    Generally eaten as "zaru udon(cold udon)". Joushu" is the old name of Gunma Prefecture. There are " mizusawa udon", "tatebayashi udon" and "kiryu udon" in joushu udon noodles. These three are the names of city in Gunma Prefecture. Especially mizusawa udon is famaous, and one of the three major udon noodles in Japan.

  • Musashino udon

    A thick and stiff type from the area of western Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, which is called "Musashino" in the past. Always eaten as "zaru udon(cold udon)" and dipping sauce is hot.

  • Yoshida udon

    A very stiff and thick type from fuji-yoshida city in Yamanashi Prefecture.

  • Ise udon

    A soft type from the north of Mie Prefecture, which is called "Ise" in the past and famous for "Ise shrine". Eaten with sweet soy sauce.

  • Udon in Kansai Region

    A little soft and medium thickness type with light brown soup,which has a rich flavor of dashi(soup) prepared from kelp. That's Kansai-style udon.

  • Hakata udon

    A thick and very very soft type from Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyushu, with light brown soup. Hakata is the center of Fukuoka city. Normally topped with deep-fried fish cake called "maruten" or tempura of burdok root called "goboten".

Special udon

  • Curry udon

    udon noodles in thick curry flavored soup. Eaten throughout Japan, but more popular in Aichi Prefecture.

  • Nabeyaki udon

    udon cooked in a hot pot (nabe) for one person with some ingredients. The normal ingredients are tempura of prawn, shiitake mushroom, kamaboko fish cake, naganegi(japanese leek), ofu and egg cracked on top. Eaten throughout Japan, especially in winter.

  • Miso-nikomi udon

    Hard udon cooked in a hot pot(nabe) for one person with red miso soup and some ingredients. The common ingredients are kamaboko fish cake, naganegi(japanese leek), abura-age(thinly deep-fried tofu), chicken and egg cracked on top. Specialty of Aichi Prefecture.

  • Yaki-udon

    stir-fried udon in soy sauce with pork and vegetables (nomally cabbage, onion, carrot, etc). Topped with aonori, katsuobushi(shaved dried bonito), aonegi, etc.

  • Udon salad

    Cold udon on salad, put dressing or tsuyu. Topped with some favorite ingredients. The healthy way to eat udon with fresh vegetables.

  • Pasta-style udon

    Recently eaten udon like italian cream pasta. e.g. udon carbonara, udon with salmon cream, etc.

  • Udon as finishing

    Eaten as finishing of nabe dish, such as "yosenabe" . Put boiled udon in the nabe(hot pot) after eating nabe dish.

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