Japanese Food Culture 9- Udon

Introduction of Udon



Udon with deep-fried tofu


Udon noodles topped with deep-fried tofu are called “kitsune udon”.


The origin of the name "Kitsune Udon" is said to come from the fact that the fox is said to be a lucky animal that brings prosperity to business, and fried tofu is a favorite food of the fox, which is why the name "Kitsune Udon" means "udon with good luck", or because the color of fried tofu resembles the color of fox hair.


Note that in the Kanto region, soba with deep-fried tofu on top is called "kitsune soba," but in Osaka (part of the Kansai region), "kitsune soba" is called "tanuki”.




Tanuki udon


Udon noodles topped with "tenkasu" (crunchy bits of deep-fried tempura batter left over after cooking tempura) are called “tanuki udon”.


There are various theories as to the origin of the name Tanuki Udon. One theory is that the color of the tenkasu resembles the color of a raccoon dog's fur, and another that "tenkasu" is the "tane-nuki" of tempura, so it was named "Tanuki Udon.


 Another name for this type of udon is "haikara udon" (mostly in the Kansai region).



Wakame udon


It is an udon with "wakame" (seaweed) on top. It is not named after any particular animal.




Nagoya's Kishimen


Kishimen is...characterized by its wide width and thinness. “Kishimen” is made thinner than udon and longer in length. The area famous for its local cuisine is Aichi Prefecture. And it is said that only those that meet certain criteria can be called "Nagoya Kishimen.


 In the Kanto region, some areas call it "Himokawa udon”.


Photo: Kishimen at Sumiyoshi in Nagoya Station





Nabeyaki udon (Udon served in a pot with broth)

Beware, it's hot!



Long and wide udon noodles came out of the “Japanese beef sukiyaki pot set (sukiyaki)”.

It is a one-person pot, so it is hot. Beware!

Tokyo: Dontei






Udon in Kagoshima


Tarumizu Ferry's specialty "Nankai Udon". Wakame udon topped with an onsen tamago (hot spring egg).


Tarumizu Ferry connects Satsuma Peninsula and Osumi Peninsula in a straight line, and you can eat inside Tarumizu Ferry.


The udon noodles have Kagoshima's specialty "Satsuma-age" on top.

 Naruto's coloring is also opposite to that of the Kanto region, with pink being the most common color.


Tempura udon and oyakodon set Volume!

Udon production ranking

Dried “Udon” noodles

Dried udon noodles that can be preserved. It is useful as a preserved food at home and as a souvenir to be sent overseas.


Hang the udon on a pole when drying.

The part of the udon that is hung on the pole has not been cut off, making it a long udon.


This shape of udon is sometimes called "Kanzashi Udon" because of its resemblance to an ornate hairpin.


Teori Udon, Yuki-gun, Ibaraki

External site  Yamadai Corp.





Photo: Igarashi Noodles, Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture


Seitsuru-men (清鶴麺) is the name for "thin udon noodles".


Igarashi Seimen - Inaka Udon - Furusato Kanzashi Udon

Photo: Curved udon part that was hanging on a pole can be seen.


External site  Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture Igarashi Seimen Co., Ltd. official site



Unusual way to eat somen noodles

Local cuisine of the Nagahama region of Shiga Prefecture


Top right: "Saba Somen" (mackerel on top of somen noodles)

Left: Grilled mackerel sushi




Let's compare foreign udon to Japanese udon!

These are "boiled udon noodles" that can be found in Taiwanese supermarkets.


On the left: "Sanuki Udon Noodles, 1-serving pack," which is believed to be exported from Japan, at NT$45.


Center: "Honba Sanuki Udon Noodles 3-pack" at NT$169, believed to be exported from Japan.


On the right side: "Oolong Noodles 3-pack" for NT$48, believed to be manufactured in Taiwan.


One Taiwan dollar (Taiwanese yuan) is approximately 4 Japanese yen (based on March 2022 survey).



Looking at the faces (side by side) on the display shelf, we see two faces side by side, despite the high price of "Sanuki Udon 3-serving pack" at approximately 680 yen.


The "Oolong Noodles 3-pack" next to the right at about 190 yen is one face.


The popularity of Japanese udon is evident from these shelves.




We hope that by seeing, eating, and learning about udon, you will deepen your understanding of Japan.