Udon is a great passion of my hubby and me and we think there is globally too little attention paid to Udon, especially compared to Japanese Ramen. Udon has all the advantages of healthy food as no oil or fat is needed for the creation, contrary this dish is commonly made with solely healthy ingredients. Japan has a long tradition of many different kind of Udon styles – whether it is based on the shape of Udon – or the used soup base. Even more interesting is that the added goodies are completely different in each region.
History of Udon in Japan
For sure the roots of Udon in Japan is very interesting, although several theories exist. Some say the exact roots are simply not known, some point out that during the Nara period in the 7th century the concept of Udon was imported from China. Udon as we know it today, was not actually imported from China, but some kind of flour based bean filled sweets. Overtime the concept of Udon changed and during the Muromachi period it is known that Udon had gotten the today known noodle shape. We know from that period that Udon were manufactured as we produce Udon, Soba or pasta today and boiled before eating. During this period already three styles of eating Udon existed. The first two seem to me rather similar to the way we eat Soba today: First one is called “Atsumugi” when hot Udon are dipped into the Udon “soup”, or then with “Hiyamugi” when cold Udon are dipped in the “soup”. The third version was already called Udon at that time and was cooked as hot Udon added to hot soup in a bowl. These three types of eating styles were called Tenshin. Originally Udon was used as snack at Zen temples. Over time Udon as a dish was introduced to Bushi solders and then lastly to the general public. Don’t you think this wonderful food deserves globally more attention?
From now on I will be adding infrequently some reviews of tasted Udon, freshly made or instant use, tasted from two different viewpoints: The Japanese from my hubby, plus mine from a foreigner perspective. Just click on the category “Udon” and you can find the collection of the so far published articles.
Enjoy and feel free to inform us if you come across any kind of Udon that you see worthwhile for us to taste.
Two happy Udon lovers,
Sibylle & Kazuo Ito (伊藤シビル&和男)