A Guide To Self-Service Udon Restaurant

Hi, it’s Mrs. Wada. I just got back from lunch break. I forgot to bring my lunch today, so I had no choice but to have lunch out. I usually have two options, go to family restaurant or my favorite self-service udon restaurant. Both are just located nearby. Since it’s raining today and a bit cold, udon would be an ideal choice.

Udon is like a fast food in Japan. It’s quick, at reasonable price and of course, delicious. Have you tried going to a self-service udon restaurant? If not yet, let me guide you then.

Speaking of udon, I always hear the importance of the texture of the noodles that it has to be al dente. That’s why most of udon restaurants serve freshly cooked noodles. But aside from that, the soup also is very important. I really like my regular place mainly because their soup is just so delicious.

Self-Service Udon Place: Front

My regular udon restaurant (I think it’s not franchised.)

Now, let me show you how to order one. Let’s go enter.

Self-Service Udon Place: Entrance

How to order Udon

I’m getting “kake-udon”, the simplest menu. For “kake-udon”, I have to get my bowl of udon noodles. It’s located on the left side in the picture below.

Self-Service Udon Place: Counter

There are usually three options – “shou” (small), “chuu/nami” (medium) and “dai” (large). I’ll have the small size. If the size you want isn’t available in the rack, you can ask the staff to prepare one.

To order other menus, go straight to the cashier area and place your order. There are many variations, there’s even curry udon. From the middle to the right side are all side menus, mostly deep-fried and you can find also onigiri (rice balls), eggs and other toppings.

Self-Service Udon Place: Side Menus

After picking your noodles and side menu(s), go forward towards the cashier.

Self-Service Udon Place: Pay at cashier

Now, let’s warm our noodles.

Self Service Udon Place: Noodles heating up section

Take the strainer and transfer the noodles into it. Then, soak in the hot water.

Self-Service Udon Place: Warm up the noodles

Shake the strainer for few seconds in the hot water, to evenly warm up the noodles. Take the strainer out and shake it up and down to drain off the water. Then, transfer back the noodles to the bowl.

Next step is to add the soup, dashi in Japanese. At this place, they use kombu (kelp) and bonito fish flakes to prepare for the dashi.

Self-Service Udon Place: Add soup

We are not done yet. Don’t forget to add free toppings. Most udon places offer free toppings, at least chopped green onions, bonito flakes and pickled raddish. If it is a lucky day, they serve also sliced kombu, my favorite.

Self-Service Udon Place: Free toppings

They also have ginger and tenkasu (tempura bits).

And it’s complete!

Self-Service Udon Place: Finished product

(I know I shouldn’t get too much toppings, but it is just so good to resist. I sometimes add ground sesame seeds. That’s battered octopus legs there.)

Soup first! Then have some seaweed strips and noodles!

Self-Service Udon Place: Udon noodles

Don’t forget to return your empty bowl and plate to the counter. They have yellow bins placed below the return counter for the used chopsticks.

Self-Service Udon Place: Return counter

And lastly, say “Gochisousama(deshita)!” (thanks for the meal) to the staffs before leaving! By the way, the word “gouchisou” means a feast or a treat. Gochisousama!

See you around!

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1 Response

  1. ᐃᓄᒃ ᑭᕙᑖ says:

    Hm. I’ve been to a stand-up noodle place, but never a self-serve place. I’ll have to try it some time.

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