Demystifying an Udon Menu

How do you like your noodles? Hot or cold? What temperature do you want the broth? Or, perhaps no broth at all? The texture of the noodle changes with the temperature. The umami changes depending on the type of broth or dipping sauce. While some connoisseurs may insist on only eating it a certain way, I suggest ordering what suits your needs that day. If it’s hot outside lean towards dishes like zaru or hiya-hiya. And in winter, go with the standard kake udon.

Here are some Tokyo udon shops you may want to check out.

かけ Kake – the standard hot noodles in a hot broth

ぶっかけ Bukkake – cold noodles with a bit of strong broth, garnished with toppings such as grated daikon, sudachi, and green onions

醤油 Shouyu – cold noodles topped with soy sauce and some garnishes

ざる Zaru – cold noodles served with a small bowl of tsuyu dipping broth (also called tsuyu-dashi)

釜あげ Kama-age – hot udon noodles served in a bowl of hot water and served with a dipping sauce

釜玉 Kama-tama – kama-age noodles that are topped with a raw egg and some soy sauce

The following are based on the temperature of the noodles (the first part) and the temperature of the broth (the second part)

あつあつ Atsu-atsu – hot noodles in a hot broth; basically a kake-udon

ひやあつ Hiya-atsu – cold noodles in a hot broth

ひやひや Hiya-hiya – cold noodles in a cold broth