Just like the Udon noodles it serves, Cafe Sanuki is steeped in tradition. To bring that tradition to Las Vegas, local businessman Henry Fan set out on a quest to learn about and import the authentic Japanese Udon noodle experience to the city intact.
In November 2016, Fan was in Hawaii on vacation with his son when he spotted a line weaving out the door of a local restaurant. They were serving Udon noodles, and the noodle, not to mention the line it created, piqued his curiosity.
Fan had tried, and not enjoyed, Udon noodles before, but he realized he had never tasted a true Udon noodle.
“That experience was fast, inexpensive, delicious and high quality,” he said. “It blew my mind.”
It also turned him into a man on a mission. Just a few weeks later, Fan made the 5,850-mile trek to the origin of the noodle – the village of Sanuki, Japan – to investigate.
There, Udon Master Mr. Minemoto, (kind of like the Mr. Miyagi of noodles) taught him the science and art of preparing centuries-old recipes using hand-picked ingredients, equipment, and methods native to the region. After experiencing the intense freshness, taste, texture, and quality of real Sanuki Udon noodles and the secrets to making authentic broth, Fan was determined to bring this authentic experience back to America — where the preparation of true Japanese Udon had often been attempted but rarely duplicated — regardless of time and cost.
Mr. Fan immediately noticed the texture of the Udon noodle prepared by Mr. Minemoto. It had a texture and chewiness unlike he had ever experienced. Also, the noodle was flavorful – it actually absorbed the flavor of the broth. It was very different than the soft, flavorless noodle in America. The flavorful broth consumed his taste buds and senses, unlike any broth he had experienced before. He was also made aware that the true Udon masters pride themselves in only using ingredients from the earth to make this wonderful broth. The sheer thought of using artificial ingredients, MSG, or any other man-made ingredients in Udon broth would be immediately met with ridicule within the Sanuki region.
Cafe Sanuki is bringing this level of authenticity to Las Vegas including a kitchen that will use NO MSG or ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS.
In Japan slurping your Udon is encouraged – the louder, the better. It’s a sign of respect to the master. It’s like giving a standing ovation. If you hear lots of slurping, you know you are in for a treat. At Cafe Sanuki we encourage our patrons so Slurp up! The louder, the prouder!
To create the best – and more importantly, most authentic – Udon noodles, Cafe Sanuki will use imported specialized machinery and Sanuki-based ingredients and has even hired a certified expert to recreate the exact water pH composition found in Sanuki. After all the travel, research, education, investment dollars and hard work, Fan received the blessings of Udon masters to bring their specialty to the United States in 2017.
Set to open in summer 2017 at the gateway to Las Vegas’ Chinatown neighborhood (Spring Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard) Cafe Sanuki will remain under the watchful eyes of Udon masters, who Fan will fly to Las Vegas at least twice annually to inspect, review and approve Café Sanuki’s precision cooking and presentation standards.
So when visiting Cafe Sanuki for the first time be prepared to to express yourself! Here are the tips for Slurp Satisfaction 101: How to slurp your noodles loud and proud!
Do you know how to Udon?
How big is your Udon noddle noggin?
Although slurping your food loudly may be considered inappropriate at other restaurants, at Cafe Sanuki it is more than welcomed! In fact, in Japan, the tradition of slurping your noodles is one that is considered both a polite and proper way to enjoy the noodles themselves, as it conveys to other people just how much you are enjoying that delicious, wonderful meal which they may also want to try out and join in on the fun.
So slurp up at Cafe Sanuki! The louder, the prouder!