Known in Asia as an original street food, authentic Udon can be hard to come by: they’re authentically produced in but a handful of noodle bars in the world. Due to Udon’s varying cooking styles in these different noodle bars, the untrained enthusiast may not realize how hard it is to find authentic Udon, especially in the states.
Authentic Udon Is Difficult to Get in the U.S.
Made from scratch with just flour, salt, and water, Udon is fairly simple. For this reason, it can be easy for noodle bars in America to put Udon dishes on a ‘faster, cheaper’ model that produces more noodles at lower quality.
The ‘faster, cheaper’ methods towards running an Udon noodle bar are very popular and common for restaurant businesses in the U.S., given the high profit model of cutting corners. These restaurants produce Udon noodles that do not remain true to their origins in cooking, yet it’s still a product that guests will pay for because they don’t know how inauthentic the Udon actually is.
In fact, you can expect any of the following to be true of Udon in America:
- Heavy in products such as MSG and artificial ingredients
- Inconsistent preparation which could leave guests with a different tastes, even when made by different people the same restaurant
- Unbalanced water-ingredient mix in the dough which effects the noodle’s taste and texture
- Highly refined flour that differs from that used in Japan
- Inconsistent size and shape of Udon due to inaccuracies in the noodle cutting process
- Low-quality dishes that do not fully take in the flavor of broth due to careless preparation
Yet for all the steps these restaurants take to focus on efficiency with their Udon in America, here is what their lack of focus on quality completely misses:
- 100% all natural flour imported from the village of Sanuki, Japan
- MSG-free ingredients free of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavoring
- Machine slicing that cuts Udon noodles to an exact shape and size every time
- Fresh Udon broth based on a mixture of organic seaweed, fish, and light seasonings
- Dual-proofing cooking methods that allow the Udon dough to rise and rest for 21 hours
This is a level of quality that could only come from seasoned Udon Masters like those found in Japan.
That’s Why Our Founder Learned from Udon Masters in Japan
Café Sanuki’s founder, Henry Fan, is a man who is passionately driven by the pursuit of quality at any cost. A self-made American businessman and extreme Udon enthusiast, Henry set out on a quest to figure out why Udon in the United States just simply did not measure up.
Learning from the Sanuki Region
Henry’s quest to create Udon noodles that are more based on authenticity and quality eventually led him to travel 5,850 miles to the ancient village of Sanuki, Japan, which is widely known to be the home of the Udon noodle. In the village of Sanuki, the ancient art of authentic Udon noodle making remained a very real and time-honored process that has been well-protected by the Udon Masters there—such as Mr. Minemoto who showed Henry how authentic Udon is really made.
The Authenticity Really Makes a Difference
In a way, you could say that Henry’s taste of authentic Udon in Japan was a moment that could be considered as ‘love at first bite.’ This is because Henry’s experience with the Japanese-Sanuki Udon was that the noodles themselves quite literally absorbed in the flavors of the broth (which is vastly different to the flavorless noodles found in in America). This flavor-fused Udon, combined with the organic ingredients used by the Udon Masters (such as organic Japanese eggs, organic kelp, and MSG-free seasonings) convinced Henry that he quite literally had something very special in his hands that simply could not be found in America—but soon would be if he could find a way to do so.
After Henry experienced this very refreshingly real and authentic Udon, he knew he had to bring these ancient cooking practices back to the United States and ensure the quality of his Udon remains the same as those found in that same village he first ventured to in Japan.
We Bring Udon Masters from Japan Every 6 Months for Quality Assurance
It is impossible to ensure the consistency of quality without consistent quality checks. This is why Café Sanuki is proud to have the privilege of flying in Udon Masters from Japan every 6 months to re-inspect and re-approve of Henry’s Udon cooking methods to ensure it remains true to those still practiced in the village of Sanuki, Japan.
As a result of this diehard dedication to quality, Café Sanuki has successfully brought the taste of authentic Udon from Japan to America. At the same time, Cafe Sanuki also revolutionized how authentic Udon is made in the United States simply by choosing to ‘stick to the book’ of authentic Udon noodle processes that remain in practice in Japan.
That is why we here at Café Sanuki don’t just aspire to deliver authentic Udon of the highest quality—we assure it with Udon Master approval!