Udon noodles, made from wheat flour, are unique to Japan. Many udon restaurants make their own noodles by kneading wheat flour with water and a little salt to make a dough, which they then stamp underfoot to give udon its distinctive firm texture.
You can also buy dried udon which is similar to pasta in that it doesn’t go off, so you can keep it in your cupboard and use it whenever you like.
Udon can be served in any number of ways, whether cold with a dipping sauce, hot in a warm broth, or topped with tempura, egg, meat or vegetables.
It is particularly important for the dipping sauce or broth to have that rich, umami flavor — this can really make or break your udon experience!
There are other wheat flour noodles that resemble udon but that go by different names, depending on their shape and how they are served.
These include ”Somen”, which are very thin white noodles, and ”Hiyamugi”, which are wheat noodles cooled on ice.
Easy to digest and perfect for anyone under the weather
Udon is served in much the same way as soba noodles, but since it is easier on the stomach and on the palate, it is a great food for kids and anyone who is feeling unwell.
Having said that, udon — being pure carbohydrate — doesn’t make a balanced meal on its own, so you'll need to redress the balance by topping the soup with proteins like chicken or egg and vegetables like boiled spinach.