Cooking udon, or any other kind of fresh pasta, just got a whole lot easier.
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!
As long as you’ve got hot water, you’re not really alone.
A little while back, we brought you news of Electrical Udon developed by Kurare of Arienai Rika (“Unbelievable Science”) for an event to be held in Osaka. Well, that event has come and gone, and we were fortunate enough to be there to get a taste of his technicolor noodles along with some other off-color foods like blue rice topped with even bluer curry and fried chicken with a secret green sauce.
We also got to see some of the DIY science that made Arienai Rika a cult hit with science and tech enthusiasts in Japan.
We’ve seen some pretty crazy and colorful food here before on RocketNews24. We’ve witnessed flaming-red burger buns and ocean-blue curry, but never before have we seen something that’s basically the equivalent of eating a neon sign.
Until now. One Japanese Twitter user/mad cooking scientist created “electrical udon” and uploaded pictures for the world to recoil at the sight of. Why did he create this beautiful monstrosity? And most importantly, what does it taste like?
Upon coming to Japan, a lot of people are surprised to discover just how difficult finding vegetarian food can be. Many people imagine Japan as a country that eats very little meat, and while that’s definitely true in comparison to North America and western Europe, the flipside is that you’ll find at least a little bit of meat in just about all dishes, including salads and vegetable stews with surprising frequency.
Things get trickier still if you’re trying to stick to a vegan diet. Even something as simple as noodles are generally out, since almost all broths are made with meat or fish stock. But if you’ve got an aversion to meat coupled with a craving for soba or udon, you’re in luck, with two new types of vegan instant noodles produced by a Zen Buddhist temple.
“Comfort food” is traditional cooking that tends to have a nostalgic or sentimental connection, often one related to family or childhood: the grilled cheese sandwiches your mother used to make; the thought of your grandmother’s bread pudding makes your mouth water; the way the whole house would be filled with the intoxicating aroma of roasted turkey or ham at Christmas? Because of such memories, these foods comfort us, especially when we’re longing for home or feeling especially vulnerable.
Not surprisingly, the sentimental Japanese have their own comfort foods. While you might think they’d be waxing over the octopus tentacles of home, very few of the dishes we’re about to talk about have much to do with seafood. Many Japanese comfort foods have a rice connection and may even center around the unique relationship between mothers or wives and their role in family food preparation. And in Japan, make no mistake about it–her kitchen rules!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and shops around Japan are already getting out their red and pink goods. Not white though, those are saved for a whole other day. Candy and flowers are usually the items of choice for this romantic day, but if your Valentine has less of a sweet tooth and finds flowers uneventful, we have the perfect substitution for you: LOVE Kitsune udon!
For the past six years, I’ve made a point of buying myself a little Rilakkuma daily planner each January and using it to keep track of my appointments, deadlines, to-do lists, etc. These kinds of daily planners are widely used in Japan, perhaps as a result of the Japanese love of punctuality and efficiency (or maybe they’re so punctual and efficient because everyone uses daily planners?) Sure, you could use the functions built into your smartphone or tablet, but there’s something about writing things down that just makes you feel like you’ve got it all together. Also, and this is kind of geeky, but it’s sorta fun to flip through your old schedule books and see what you were up to on x date 3 years ago. In fact, Japan loves schedule books so much that you can now choose from a huge range of styles which are tailor-made to cater to specific lifestyles. Whether you’re a hostess, train otaku or exam-cramming student, there’s a schedule book out there for you!
On the application for a lot of jobs in the service sector, they’ll ask if you’re willing to work nights and weekends. Oftentimes, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a trick question. On the one hand, candidates obviously want to put their best, most eager face forward, and if you say you’d rather not take shifts then, you’re opening yourself up to the very real possibility of losing the job to someone who’s, at least on paper, more industrious.
Honestly though, no one really wants to be working at those times, since nights and weekends are some of the best times to enjoy spending the money you earn as part of raising your overall quality of life. Thankfully, one udon chain seems to understand this, and as part of their recruiting advertising, points out that working at its restaurants won’t get in the way of the more important things in life, life spending your weekends at an anime convention.
In Japan, the common thinking is that if you want the absolute best-tasting food, you have to go to an independently run restaurant, generally with a long wait for tables and/or high prices on the menu. But what about those times when you’re hungry, but not in the mood to spend a large chunk of either your free time or disposable income on a meal?
That’s when you turn to one of Japan’s national chains, and if you can’t decide which, maybe this survey on the top 12 chain restaurants in Japan can help you.
Compared to ramen, udon has a decidedly low-key image. Ramen is actually a comparative newcomer to the Japanese dining scene, and so it’s generally the more likely candidate for crazy experimentation. Udon, on the other hand, is simpler, and in its most basic form, the thick white flour noodles, floating in a basic salty broth, can seem almost austere by comparison.
At least, that’s the impression eating udon only in train station noodle joints and school cafeterias would leave you with. The truth is, in the several centuries Japan has been eating udon, it’s come up with dozens of different takes on the dish, and later this year, you’ll be able to sample dozens all in the same place, with the opening of two Udon Museums in Tokyo and Osaka.
As soon as my husband started building an iwaburo rock bath in our house, curious neighbors poked their heads in and asked, “When are we going to eat udon?” This is local parlance for: “When will the bath be finished?”
Japanese is said to be a vague language and thus difficult for foreigners to understand, but this was rather extraordinary. Why such a strange way to ask when a bath will be completed?!
This unusual pairing, I soon learned, can be traced all the way back to Shikoku, one of Japan’s four main islands, and an island famous for its udon noodles. Kagawa Prefecture, known as udonken (the udon prefecture) is particularly well-known for its delicious thick, starchy noodles. And we can thank Kagawa for a very strange custom: that of eating udon while sitting in a new bathtub!
Now, you probably want to know why they would do such a thing. And why udon? Wouldn’t beer and peanuts be more logical? Or, if you’re going to celebrate a new bathtub, why not go all out and have a pig roast in there? Our intrepid bathing reporter tells you why and oh, so much more about Japanese baths.
The other day we brought you news about Brazilian style cup noodles and as the saying goes, you eat with your eyes before your mouth and we’re sure many of you became suddenly hungry after looking at the picture. Even though you knew it was Cup Noodle, that didn’t stop you from salivating at the words “BBQ” and “Brazilian spices”. Seeing instant ramen undoubtedly brings the thoughts of, “I wonder if I could make my own ramen noodles myself, instead of whatever is in this Styrofoam cup.” Starting from July, you can and this new product from Waganse is just as easy as “making” a Cup Noodle and probably a whole lot healthier too.
Actually never mind that, tasting any wattage isn’t really recommended, despite my own preference for licking 9V batteries. Nevertheless, a power source fueled largely by Japan’s girthy noodles called udon is now currently in operation in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture.
Although generating power from bio-organic sources is nothing new, it seems this plant-based plant has found a way to be sustainable using a peculiar quirk of Kagawa’s udon rich culture.
I have a minor confession to make: I’m really not a fan of udon noodles. When asked to rank the big three – namely ramen, soba and udon – I’ll give my answer from most to least liked in that exact order. Ramen is quite frankly the man and hard to go wrong with, and soba is, although far simpler, nearly always delicious even hot or cold. But udon I just can’t seem to make friends with. Far heavier than its other noodle brethren, I find myself tiring of udon’s flavour even halfway through a meal, and those thick, heavy wheat-flour noodles slip from my chopsticks and splash into my soup. Every. Single. Time.
But these awesome new gelatinous “gummy” udon noodles, I think I could handle.
Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.
If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.
Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!
A popular udon noodle shop in Japan, “Hanamaru Udon,” is offering a 50 yen discount for each “live child” that customers bring to their stores starting on October 7. With talks of Tokyo hiking the consumption tax, parents can rest easier knowing their kids can be exchanged for delicious udon.
Although it’s often overshadowed by ramen and soba, udon is the final member of the triumvirate of Japanese noodles. With a spongy, absorbent texture, it allows diners to really enjoy the flavor of the broth or dipping sauce it’s served with. This airier structure also means you might need a larger serving to get as full as you would from a meal of ramen or soba, however.
With this in mind, and very little in his stomach, our reporter Mr. Sato headed to a branch of popular udon chain Marugame Seimen, where he fearlessly ordered the largest bowl of udon on the menu, the Family Udon.