The Origin of Udon Noodles: Korean or Japanese?

The Origin of Udon Noodles: Korean or Japanese?

Noodles are the basic snacks in many countries. Some of them see noodle as a complete meal. This way or that way, Noodles have become a necessity to us. Humans have been eating noodles since far before, but the variety that they are available in, today is just Tre mendable, not only that, there are more than thousand different kinds of flavors which make each and every noodle special and unique in their own way. Especially in Eastern Asia, Noodles are looked upon as a very important dish. People from different parts of the world visit Eastern Asia just to taste those delicious noodles they serve. One of them is Udon Noodles.

Udon is a very famous type of noodles that surfaces from Eastern Asia. Udon is not like other noodles; in fact, they are very thick in nature and is made up of Wheat flour. It is served in a variety of ways. It can be eaten with hot soup or cold soup but anyhow it tastes good. But the main controversy that goes with this Udon noodle is its origin. People fight about whether its origin is Korean or Japanese. So, lets end the debate and understand which country is native to the ‘Udon noodles.’

Udon Noodles in Japan

Udon was first discovered in Japan and is famously known as a Japanese cuisine. In Japan it is famously known as a comfort food for Japanese people. It is said that, in 124 AD, a monk brought a flour milling technology from China to Japan. Which then helped in the making of the Udon noodles which were the perfect food for the locals back then. Slowly, the art of milling technique spread to the whole Japan, hence making Udon a very easy noodles in every part of Japan. Today, the same traditional as well as the modifies version of Udon noodles are served in almost all the restaurants in Japan. However, the broth that the noodles are served can be different in different corners of Japan. 

Different Forms of Udon Noodles in Japan

So, the simplest form of Udon noodles in Japan is in a hot soup called as ‘Kake Udon’ with a broth called ‘Kakejiru’ (made of mainly soy sauce and mirin). The traditional noodles are served with the thinly chopped Scallions. Nevertheless, in different parts of Japan, people prefer different toppings like, mixed tempura fritter (consists of prawn), Sweet tofu pouches, sliced fish cake etc. In Eastern Japan, Dark soy sauce is added in the broth called Kikuchi while in the western part, people are more inclined towards light soy sauce called Usukuchi. However, there are many types available in the market like stir fried ‘Yaki’ Udon, curry Udon etc. Mostly used in Japanese hot pot.

The Serving of Udon Noodles

The making of Udon noodles involves boiling the noodles in hot water. As there are different types of noodles in the market, the serving is different for different types. Like in summers, the noodles are served cold and while in winter it is served hot. In both cases, it tastes absolutely delicious. In the native language, the hot Udon noodles are called ‘nurumugi’ while the cold one is called ‘hiyamugi.’ 

Hiyamigi is generally known as an Udon salad that is mixed with omelet or chicken and for the vegetarian option, it is mixed with Veggies like cucumbers and radish.  

Different Toppings for Hot and Cold Noodles in Japan

  • Chikara Udon: Toppings of mochi rice
  • Kake Udon: Toppings with green onion
  • Kamaage Udon: Served with dipping sauce along with the hot pot
  • Kitsune Udon: Topping with deep-fried Tofu pouches
  • Sutamina Udon: Toppings with raw egg, meat, etc
  • Kijoyo Udon: Served with raw Soy sauce as dipping
  • Zaru Udon: Served with chopped Nori
  • Tanuki Udon: Toppings with Tempura pieces
  • Wakame Udon: Toppings with Dark green Seaweed
  • Hadaka Udon: Served as it is
  • Nabeyaki Udon: Cooked with Vegetables

Udon Noodles in Korea

Koreans are mainly famous for their Ramen noodles. Korea is basically home to many noodles. So, udon is one of the noodles they serve. In Korea, they have their own Korean-style Udon noodle soup. The main Japanese noodles are served in many Japanese-oriented restaurants in Korea. The Korean-styled Udon noodles are famously presented in snack bars i.e., Bunsikjip and Street stalls i.e., Pojangmacha. 

But unlike the Udon Pronunciation in the Japanese language, In Korean Udon is called UDONG, which typically refers to the noodle soup that is famous in Korea. In some parts of Korea, it is also known as Garak-Guksu which means ‘thick noodles.’ Korean Udong is not very different from the traditional Japanese Udon. The common Ingredients used in Udong noodle soup are crown daisy greens, Fish cake known as Eomuk in Korean. Kind of similar to the Japanese Udong but at the same time having a huge difference in taste. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Does Udon have Korean origin or Japanese origin? Udon is definitely Japanese in its origin. But Korea does serve Udong in its own way. But when it comes to the origin then it’s definitely a traditional Japanese noodle.
  2. Are Korean Udon and Japanese Udon the same? Not likely, they have completely different tastes and making processes. In fact, Korean Udon is called Udong. The toppings are very different for both the countries. Hence, resulting in different tastes and varieties.
  3. What type of Udon noodles can we eat in Japan? As being the home country to Udon, Japan serves a variety of Udon. Some are served with hot soup while some are served in chilled condition. When it comes to the variety in toppings, there are 100 of them available. Choose the ones you want.
  4. Are Udon noodles famous in Japan? Without a doubt. Udon noodles are so famous in Japan that sometimes they use them as their mascots. The Japanese animation is known as ‘Anime’ is the main source of advertisement of Udon Noodles around the world. So yes, it is famous. 
The Origin of Udon Noodles: Korean or Japanese?

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