Hōtō udon(ほうとう)



That moment when you discover dishes you never knew existed and they suddenly become a favorite: that’s my case with hōtō udon.

What is hōtō udon?

It is a typical dish from Yamanashi Prefecture, although it has spread to other areas of Japan. They consist of thick, short noodles made from kneaded flour.  Hōtō noodles are wider and flatter compared to regular udon noodles. They are commonly prepared with a hot, dense broth with vegetables such as pumpkin cooked in miso. It is not commonly found on restaurant menus. It is a dish more often made at home.

What is its origin?

There are many theories, but the most credible one is that it was born in Yamanashi, as rice cultivation was very difficult due to its cold weather and the land’s orography. As a result, flour consumption flourished.

How is it prepared?

Typically, the dough is prepared in a wooden bowl, stretched into long noodles, and left to dry for a while. Once they have dried, they are folded and cut, thus forming the short noodles mentioned above. You do not need to boil the noodles first. You cook them directly with the rest of the ingredients.

What ingredients is it served with?

Basically, you can add any ingredients you like. However, it is usually served with a thick vegetable and miso broth, which usually includes pumpkin cooked in miso, carrot, negi (green onion), and shimeji (mushroom).

You should also try it!

Unlike conventional udon that is simply dipped in soy sauce, these are included in a broth with lots of vegetables and flavor. The first time I knew about this dish was thanks to a well-known anime about camping, and even though it was not a real image, I found it very interesting. When I saw them in the supermarket, I ventured to try them, and it is going to become a recurring dish that I will make especially in the cold season.