For other uses, see Udon (disambiguation).

Kake udon
Type noodles
Place of origin Japan
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Noodles (wheat flour, water, salt), broth (dashi, soy sauce, mirin), scallions
Cookbook: Udon  Media: Udon
A chef rolling up the dough to make Udon

Udon (饂飩, usually written as うどん) is a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine.

Udon is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or aburaage, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste.

The flavor of broth and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi shōyu), is used in eastern Japan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce (usukuchi shōyu), is used in western Japan. This is even noticeable in packaged instant noodles, which are often sold in two different versions for east and west.


There are many stories explaining the origin of udon.

One story says that in AD 1241, Enni, a Rinzai monk, introduced flour milling technology to Japan. Floured crops were then made into noodles such as udon, soba, and pancakes which were eaten by locals. Milling techniques were spread around the country. In the Edo period, the thicker wheat noodle was generally called udon, and served with a hot broth called nurumugi (温麦). The chilled variety was called hiyamugi (冷麦).

Another story states that during the Nara period, a Japanese envoy was introduced to 14 kinds of confection while being in China during the Tang Dynasty. One of them was called sakubei (索餅), which was listed as muginawa (牟義縄) in Shinsen Jikyō (新撰字鏡), a dictionary which was published in the Heian Era. The muginawa is believed to be an origin for many kinds of Japanese noodles. However, the muginawa in Shinsen Jikyō was made with wheat and rice flour.

Another story for udon claims that the original name of the noodle was konton, which was made with wheat flour and sweet fillings.

Yet another story says that a Buddhist priest called Kukai introduced udon noodles to Shikoku during the Heian Era. Kūkai, the Buddhist priest, traveled to China around the beginning of the 9th century to study. Sanuki Province claimed to have been the first to adopt udon noodles from Kūkai. Hakata claimed to have produced udon noodles based on Enni's recipe.


Tempura udon
Kitsune udon
Yaki udon

Like many Japanese noodles, udon noodles are usually served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. Toppings are chosen to reflect the seasons. Most toppings are added without much cooking, although some are deep-fried. Many of these dishes may also be prepared with soba.



Tororo udon: cooked dried Tamba blackbean (kuromame) udon noodles with grated yamaimo

Regional varieties

There are wide variations in both thickness and shape for udon noodles.

See also


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