The Udon Grand Prix sees shops from all over Japan competing to find out who has the best noodles… may the best udon win!
The thick, wheat flour noodle may seem a tad boring at first sight, but just like ramen, it is a serious deal in Japan. Kagawa prefecture, in Shikoku, has even started a campaign to change its name to “udon prefecture”, since the dish is so famous there… Well, watch out Kagawa, as you now have tight competition from all over Japan.
For a whole weekend, representatives from the various udon shops across Japan will gather around pots of boiling water, throw in some noodles and cook up some intricate broths to win the top spot of this competition. Visitors can taste noodles from all regions of the country, from prefectures such as Akita, Hokkaido, Fukuoka and Okinawa – even remote coastal islands and a Yokohama Chinatown shop will make the trek to Yoyogi Park to share their secret recipes. You can view the full list of Udon Grand Prix participating shops here (Japanese only).
To determine the winner, visitors will be handed out voting cards to mark their level of satisfaction with the noodle dish. Cards will be collected and divided accordingly, and prizes will be awarded based on a comprehensive evaluation: broth, noodles and topping ingredients are all taken into account. And if you thought udon was simply thick noodles in a light broth, be prepared to be dazzled by various twists, such as curry and plum concoctions, macrobiotic noodles and even a so-called ‘beautifying’ kind.
Get your tastes buds ready as they’ll help you pick the best udon in Japan – and if anything, there’s nothing like a cold bowl of udon to keep your cool on a scorching day.
Udon Grand Prix
More info: http://u-1gp.com/
When: August 24-25
Where: Yoyogi Park (click for map)
How much: Free admission
Main image: PhoTones_TAKUMA on Flickr