I feel like I’m going on a Japanese food craze.
Yesterday, my roommates and I decided to have a little roommate bonding time by going to the Lotte Plaza Market’s cafeteria area. (Lotte Plaza Market is an oriental market.) I told them about my project and they were very supportive of the idea of accompanying me to try some new Asian dishes. During our Lotte adventure, I got the Japanese Shrimp Tempura Udon noodles. I’ve seen them in dry packs (the way ramen noodles are packed) but the only place I’ve seen them served fresh and hot is at the Lotte Plaza Market cafeteria.
For those who are unfamiliar with Japanese Udon noodles, it is a soup dish. They have really thick flour noodles with scallions, fake lobster meat, and fake crabmeat. Because I got the shrimp tempura version, there was a piece of shrimp tempura in the soup. To the left of the bowl are pickled radishes.
This recipe from Just One Cookbook uses additional ingredients such as dried shiitake mushrooms, carrots, fish cake, etc.
- shiitake mushrooms
- stalk spinach
- kamaboko fish cake
- shimeji mushrooms
- chicken thigh
- Shrimp Tempuras
- Shichimi togarashi
Udon noodle dishes vary greatly. They vary in thickness and hardness and the dishes themselves do not always have to be “soup form.” They can be served hot or cold, stir fried or in a soup, etc. This Huffington Post article “Udon Recipes: The Japanese Noodle That’ll Make You Feel Great About Winter” is a good source that shows how different udon noodles can be prepared. According to the Food Service Warehouse, udon noodles themselves came from China and were brought to Japan by Japanese monks. In today’s Japanese society, the thickness and hardness of the noodles varies from region to region.
Unfortunately, I could not find any information on how udon noodles traveled from Japan to America. There was not much information on the history of Udon noodles in general. Although, I did find an article from Honolulu Magazine that gave an inkling on udon noodles in America.
Sun Noodles is a major noodle factory that crafts their noodles and sends them to different restaurants in New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Hawaii (as it is based in Honolulu). They serve up to 13,000 servings of noodles per day. Hidehito Uki, the founder of Sun Noodles, was at the opening of Marukame Udon, a restaurant specializing in udon noodles in Hawaii. Even though Uki doesn’t actually make the udon noodles, he helps them source the flour to make it. According to Uki, American and Canadian wheat are too hard, but Australian wheat is bright and “just right.”