Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle. Generally, udon is served in a hot soup or eaten chilled as diners dip noodles into a rich soy sauce based sauce. The simplest form of udon is called kake udon, which consists of only plain noodles and broth.
Common udon toppings are tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or abura-age (a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin (sweet rice wine), and soy sauce). Many Japanese people prefer having udon with spicy shichimi (seven-kinds of Japanese spices) added for taste.
Udon is the one of the soul foods in Japan that is eaten, especially when people have caught a cold they tend to eat udon as it is very easy to digest and incredibly easy to make.
Few restaurants manage to maintain high standards once they become immensely popular, but Omen has been doing it for years. The name means “noodles” and that’s their signature dish: thick udon noodles, served with either hot or cold broth. But there’s also a large a la carte menu with all kinds of excellent dishes to go with your noodles, usually made from seasonal ingredients. There’s comfortable tatami seating downstairs, along with a few counter seats that are good for solo diners, and table seating upstairs for inflexible foreigners. With an English menu and a welcoming staff, it’s no surprise that this place is a favorite of Kyoto’s long-term expat community.
No matter when you try to eat at Yamamoto Menzo, there is always a long queue in front of the restaurant. Not only locals but also ardent fans from around Japan come all the way here to try Yamamoto Menzo’s homemade udon noodles. Made from strictly selected flour producing a firm texture, the staff serves the just-cooked hot noodles to each customer. One of the recommended dishes is the udon noodles topped with burdock tempura. The delicate clear soup from bonito flakes is tasty as well as crispy burdock adds a different texture. The burdock tempura is also good to try with the special curry flavored salt.
Since opening its door in 1940, Okakita has been loved by local people for over 70 years for their Kyoto-style udon and soba noodles. The secret is their homemade broth which was finally achieved by the efforts of the first generation owner, who spent 17 years to attain it during his training period, and the second generation owner, who also spent many years. Its delicate and complex taste goes perfectly with handmade thin noodles topped with fu (wheat gluten), Kyoto vegetables and yuba (bean curd skin). One of the most popular menu items is the Kitsune Udon noodles. A sheet of deep-fried tofu is cooked in sweetened soy sauce brought from a nearby tofu specialty shop every morning. The deep-fried tofu and plenty of shredded green onion match perfectly.
This is a famous noodle restaurant which has three restaurants in Kyoto. Their original soup is using Kyoto’s natural water from the ground and selected ingredients only. The soup is carefully made by the skilled chef taking more than 3 hours. It is called “golden soup” as it has a beautiful golden color. Most popular menu item is Kitsune Udon. Deep-fried tofu and fresh green onion from Kyoto enhance the deliciousness of the texture of the noodles.
Located on Gojo Street, serves handmade udon noodles. When they prepare the noodle dough they leave it for a longer period of time than general resulting in noodles that have a shiny glow and unique texture. The noodles are relatively thin and thus easy to eat. The chilled udon topped with shrimp tempura is available only on weekday nights and weekends. If you like to simply enjoy the taste of noodles, choose the Zaru Udon. With the Japanese-style curry udon, customers can choose toppings such as simmered beef and half-boiled egg. A reasonably priced lunch set is very popular among local office workers and families.
Hours: 11:30-14:30, 17:30-20:30 (L.O.) *Closed when noodles are sold out.
Closed: Wed. & Tues. night
Today, Fumiya is a popular udon noodle restaurant but it originally started in 1946 as a Japanese sweets café offering zenzai sweet red bean soup using finest quality sugar and special red beans called Dainagon Azuki from the Tamba region of Kyoto Prefecture. The most popular menu item is the Kyoto-style Nabe-yaki Udon, “Fumiya-nabe,” which includes 2 pieces of baked rice cake, shrimp tempura, cooked shiitake mushroom and steamed fish cake. Take-out is also available. The slightly sweet broth goes well with their homemade thick noodles. The broth is made from natural kombu kelp from Rishiri in Hokkaido, and blended dried flakes of round herrings, mackerel and mejika fish. What is more, they use natural spring water from the Fushimi area. The flour used for the noodles is 100% Japanese grown.
This is a small family-run udon noodle restaurant that provides soft and savory Kyoto-style noodles in a casual atmosphere. The Curry Udon consists of carefully prepared bonito soup and tasty curry, and it has been featured in TV programs and magazines many times. Besides the Curry Udon noodles, the Kuzu-kake Udon (noodles with hot thick broth), typically simple udon, buckwheat noodles and rice bowls are also available. Hinode Udon is a place for everyone, both the regular locals and tourists visiting nearby Nanzen-ji Temple and Eikan-do Temple.