Japan’s 3 Best Udon Noodle Brands
Ramen, soba, and udon are noodle dishes that represent Japan. These are not only widely enjoyed in Japan but also fairly well-recognized overseas.
Among them, in terms of udon, have you ever heard that there are brands generally known as “Japan’s 3 Best Udon Noodles”?
Japan’s 3 Best Udon Noodles
Let’s get to the point. “Sanuki Udon (讃岐うどん)” and “Inaniwa Udon (稲庭うどん)” are two of the three best udon noodles.
The former is a specialty of Kagawa Prefecture, while the latter is the udon noodle brand Akita Prefecture boasts.
However, as for the rest, four regional udon noodles are potential candidates.
Specifically, they are “Mizusawa Udon (水沢うどん)”, “Goto Udon (五島うどん)”, “Himi Udon (氷見うどん)”, and “Kishimen (きしめん)”.
Actually, the udon noodle to be selected for the rest depends on selection criteria, and the opinion varies from person to person.
But today, for the unfamiliar with these udon brands, let me briefly introduce each.
Sanuki Udon (讃岐うどん)
Sanuki Udon is the udon noodle that Kagawa prides itself on, and the prefecture Kagawa is the largest consumer of udon noodles in Japan.
The main characteristic of Sanuki Udon is the noodles are, above all, thick and chewy.
They are served in a soy sauce-based dashi-rich broth made with niboshi (dried young sardine).
The leading udon restaurant chain with over 800 locations throughout Japan “Marugame-Seimen (丸亀製麺)” is offering Sanuki Udon.
Inaniwa Udon (稲庭うどん)
Inaniwa Udon originated in the southern part of Akita Prefecture. It is a hand-stretched thin wheat noodle featuring its smooth and slippery texture.
In the old days, this udon was for feudal lords and the imperial royal family, and commoners couldn’t have the noodles until 1972.
Mizusawa Udon (水沢うどん)
Mizusawa Udon is a thin, bouncy noodle produced around Ikaho Town, a famous onsen region in Gunma Prefecture.
The noodles are typically served cold and eaten by dipping in a soy sauce broth or a flavorful sesame sauce.
Goto Udon (五島うどん)
A specialty of Nagasaki Prefecture, Goto Udon is a thin wheat noodle with over 1000 years of history.
The noodles have a distinctive chewy texture, and when going down the throat, they give a pleasant sensation. Made with camellia oil, this udon has a unique flavor and hardly gets soggy.
Himi Udon (氷見うどん)
Himi Udon is a thin and chewy udon noodle loved by the locals of Himi City, Toyama Prefecture.
This udon also has a long history, and the origin dates back to the mid-Edo period, about 300 years ago.
Kishimen is a flat udon noodle seen in Nagoya cuisine called “Nagoya Meshi (名古屋飯)”. It is soft and slippery and goes down the throat smoothly.