This is a quick post[1] on udon. Of the quick and cheap variety, which is just fine by me. Udon’s a wheat noodle which has a similar thickness to that of laksa. Although you’d see it in the likes of certain eateries in the UK as being fried, I prefer it served in hot soup/broth as they do in Japan. Here’s two really simple udon dishes that I had the pleasure of trying.

Kitsune udon 「きつねうどん」 literally means fox udon.

The udon is served in a hot light shoyu broth topped with deep fried sweet tofu called abura-age 「油揚げ」 and some sliced scallions. You’d recognise abura-age a the tofu pocket used in making inarizushi. It is said that the fox spirit loves to eat abura-age, hence the name of this simple udon dish. This particular one I had for lunch at a small eaterie in the middle of Nara-kōen also had a pinch of yuzu 「柚子」as garnishing, giving the dish a citrusy zest to its flavour, as well as two slices of fish cakes (surimi) called kamaboko. I remembered being a tad chilly walking about Nara and this hot bowl of noodles was just soothingly wonderful. If I remember correctly a bowl was about 400円 thereabouts.

Tanuki udon 「たぬきうどん」 is also a hot soupy udon dish which bears the name of another animal. A tanuki is virtually a raccoon-like dog of sorts.

The soup is basically miso topped with tenkasu 「天かす」 which is pretty much analogous to batter scraps you get from a fish ‘n’ chip shop, except this is the batter you make tempura with. So as you can imagine, it is a tad oily compared to other healthier soups I’ve had here. This less-refined looking small bowl of tanuki udon was from Genki Sushi, a kaitenzushi establishment in Shibuya. It has two sorry halves of a kamaboko slice and is topped with sliced scallions. It is quite filling despite being a side order and I made the mistake of ordering it after a few *koff* plates of sushi. Much cheapness at 150円.

[1]Which is a year overdue!