I could (and have) eat udon every day.
It is a satisfying yet light dish that will leave you full but not stuffed.
Below is a cheat sheet so you can familiarize yourself with different preparations of udon, and be sure to look for them next time you are out ordering yourself a bowl.
The beauty of a bowl of udon is the simplicity of it all; a bowl of thick, chewy noodles, swimming in a light and tasty broth. Add a handful of seaweed or some green onions for garnish and you’re done.
I ate this bowl of udon every morning for three summers during high school, when I lived with my Japanese extended family, the Fukudas. The noodles and broth were imported straight from Japan, and my aunt would make it fresh daily. She would throw in some vegetables once in a while, sometimes tofu or tempura. It was always so delicious.
I crave udon a lot when I am sick, because it is really easy on the stomach and you can add shichimi
to make it spicy while clearing your sinuses.
When you order udon at a Japanese restaurant, there might be one version or ten versions. If you aren’t familiar with the different types, it’s hard to know what to order.
- Karē udon or curry udon is made with Japanese curry. Sometimes it's very thick, like a spaghetti sauce, and sometimes it’s more like a thick soup. It usually comes with vegetables and meat.
- Kake udon or just, udon, is a basic bowl of udon with broth, a garnish and slice of fishcake.
- I have seen Tempura udon on a lot of restaurant menus, it is probably the most common version you will see. Tempura udon comes with tempura, usually shrimp tempura, but anywhere that has vegetable tempura will add or replace the shrimp upon request (if its not on the menu)
- Nabeyaki udon is also a popular menu item, I have seen it in a lot of Japanese restaurants. It’s like udon with the works – a lot of different seafood and vegetables cooked in a hotpot, with egg. Very
- You will usally see Zaru udon listed next to Zaru Soba. Zaru udon is a cold noodle dish, the udon noodles come on a plate with a side of dipping sauce made of dashi and shoyu (soy sauce). Its good to eat on a hot day, and a good substitute if you don’t like soba noodles.
- Less often I see Kitsune udon. It comes with sweet deep-fried bean curd. This is my favorite type of udon to order. The fried bean curd is really delicious, and it is not that sweet, but does deepen the
flavor of the broth.
- Wakame udon is seaweed udon. It has a LOT of seaweed in it and it makes the broth taste like seaweed as well. It can be overpowering sometimes if you are not used to it. Some people mistake it for tasting fishy, but it’s the seaweed that gives it that intense sea flavor.
I hope that you can enjoy some udon and that it fills your hearts and stomachs as much as it does mine.
-Chikara udon is another one of my favorites that I don’t usually get to eat too often. It is udon with fried or grilled mochi. If you see this on the menu, you should get it, its really hearty and supposedly
good for you.