As fall turns into winter, Japanese people look to food such as hot noodle dishes as a tasty way to warm up.  Udon noodles, in particular, are great during the winter, and nothing beats slurping up a steaming bowl of udon on a cold day.

We discovered a unique way to eat hot udon noodles at Mentouan, a noodle shop in Nara.  When you order a bowl of udon at Mentouan, you are presented with what appears to be a small pouch floating in broth…but you can’t see the noodles!

Following his report of Kyoto’s gigantic one-noodle udon, our resident foodie Kuzo went to Mentouan to try this “invisible udon” for himself.

So where are the noodles hiding?  In the fried tofu draw string bag which is floating in the bowl of soup!  You can’t see them until you rip open the bag with your chopsticks and pull them out.  When the bowl of noodles is placed in front of you, it looks like your getting a draw string bag in soup for your meal.

Now rip open that bag with your chopsticks, and the white udon noodles will peek out at you from inside.  Pulling the noodles out of the fried tofu bag is like finding a hidden treasure, your heart starts racing, filled with the joy of anticipation of slurping those noodles up into your mouth.  I never knew eating noodles this way could be such a treat!

Because the noodles are in a fried tofu bag they absorb the soft flavor of tofu along with the taste of the soup.  Another benefit of the fried tofu pouch is that it keeps the noodles hot so that even if you eat slowly, you won’t end up with lukewarm noodles.  Try this dish and you are sure to enjoy the process of eating them as much as the good taste of them!

■ Information
Store Name:  Mentouan
Address: Hashimotocho 30-1, Nara city, Nara Prefecture 
Hours: 11:00 ~19:00, closed Tuesdays

Mentouan Noodle Shop

A bag floating in soup

Looks tasty!

Finally, eat the fried tofu bag with a konbu, seaweed tie!