Your significant other not big on sweets? Then these udon noodles filled with a lot of “heart” may be the perfect treat this Valentine’s Day!
Typically, Valentine’s Day in Japan involves gifts of chocolates or other sweets (sometimes with some special extra ingredients added) , usually presented from girls to boys. But if your sweetheart isn’t fond of sweets, these unique udon noodles from specialty udon shop Osawaya, named Love Kitsune, may offer a tasty alternative.
For those of you unfamiliar with the dish, udon is thick noodles made from wheat flour, usually served in a hot, flavorful soup stock. And what makes these noodles a special Valentine’s item? The huge heart-shaped aburaage topping, of course!
Aburaage is a thin sheet of fried tofu, which turns quite yummy when it soaks up the noodle soup. In Japanese folklore, aburaage is thought to be a favorite food of the fox (kitsune), which is the reason why noodles containing aburaage are known as “kitusune udon”, and hence the product’s sweet name, Love Kitsune.
Each heart-shaped asuraage used in the Love Kitsune is prepared and fried by hand, and it also comes with an additional small pink piece of udon also in a heart shape, and yes, the pink heart is edible too! How cute is that?
Since the udon is from Osawaya, an established udon restaurant based in Mizusawa, an area of Gunma Prefecture with a 400-year tradition of producing quality udon, it should be not only pretty to look at but something you can also seriously savor. Their noodles are described on Osawaya’s site as being firm and smooth, and they use primarily bonito and konbu seaweed for their soup stock. Perhaps it’s not surprising that they sold 10,000 packages of these udon last year.
▼ The Love Kitsune udon, which can be purchased through their online shop for a limited time during Valentine’s season, comes in a package like the one shown here, including the noodles, broth, and the two heart-shaped toppings.
The package above contains two servings for 1,460 yen (US$12), but there are also packages of one individual serving for 730 yen, five individual servings for 3,650 yen, or three sets of two servings for 4,380 yen available on the site.
▼ You can also get one message card of your choice from among the three designs below for each package ordered.
▼ They also have an udon pack with two small pink hearts instead of the large aburaage heart, available at 740 yen for two servings or 3,700 yen for five sets of two servings.
We never thought we’d be using the word cute to describe noodles, but what can we say? These udon are darn cute! And with the weather still bitterly cold, a hot bowl of noodles just might be the perfect way to keep your loved one warm and happy. Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is as full of warmth as a steaming bowl of udon!