Guide Udon

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TOKYO (4 p.m.)
  1. Idaten Udon | Japanese Cuisine | Restaurant | Food & Beverage | IMM
  3. Why Udon, Japan’s Most Important Noodle, Is Worth Traveling For

Much of what distinguishes Hanon, a new udon restaurant steps from the L and G trains in central Williamsburg, has to do with the noodles themselves, which are made thinner than usual, with sharper edges and a consistently springy, al-dente finish. Served cold, in playful piles, it resembles the enigmatic loops of the Cy Twombly pencil drawing that hangs across from the rest room.

Idaten Udon | Japanese Cuisine | Restaurant | Food & Beverage | IMM

This attention to textures carries through an entire meal at this small, stylish restaurant, which is unusually quiet but still informal. Noren curtains in earth tones seclude diners from the busy street outside and from the kitchen. The notably diverse staff chat with customers in both English and Japanese. On a recent night, a server in a sequinned jacket revealed to a scandalized child, by degrees, that his feathered coif was a hairpiece.

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An ideal introductory plate might be the seiro tasting set, which pairs noodles—white, green, or both—with three classic sauces: dashi, sesame, and whipped mountain yam with a dash of egg yolk. There are twenty udon dishes on the menu: some served hot, in a powerful, briny broth; some served cold, with dipping sauces; and a few specialty preparations involving things like caviar, sea urchin, and duck.


You can customize further, adding, for example, a heady pickled plum or a luxurious soft-boiled egg encased in tempura. But the bare-bones dishes are arguably the most impressive. A simple chicken udon—packed with enoki, maitake, and beech mushrooms, greens, and yuzu zest—is satisfying and restorative, like the perfect cure to a summer cold.

Burdock root—scored, fried, and neatly stacked to form a small gray log cabin—is smoky and surprising. Just look for the big yellow food truck parked outside. But the udon at Men Chirashi is the real deal. The rest of the menu hews to the same excellent template.

Best Udon Noodles in Japan - Epic Noodle Tour

Tempura is the classic accompaniment for Sanuki udon, whether served as kake in hot soup or zaru chilled with a dipping sauce on the side. But leave it to the crew at Men Chirashi to get inventive. Kamatama hot noodles with a raw egg yolk is now a standard.

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  3. Zaru Udon (cold)!

But kamatama-yama , the same with grated maru-imo yam on the side, is a slithery, slimy step into the unknown. Adding bacon and Parmesan in place of the yam, they stray into Italian territory: Carbonara udon anyone?

Why Udon, Japan’s Most Important Noodle, Is Worth Traveling For

He was the brains behind Delifucious , the designer fishburger joint in Nakameguro that was one of the hits of And he has more projects coming up soon, starting with that food truck out front. The idea is to offer dashimaki tamago, omelet wrapped in hot dog buns. Click to enlarge.