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We pushed the glass doors of the restaurant and were greeted with dark wooden furniture and walls that emphasized a modern Japanese atmosphere. On one side of the restaurant, we saw cooks making the noodles on demand. The udon noodles, presented in a classic jade colored ceramic bowl, were shiny and delicate combination with the rich soy broth.
The history behind udon is complicated. One theory is that the noodles originated in AD 1241 after a Chinese monk introduced flour milling technology to Japan. Noodles made around this time period only came to be called udon during Muromachi era (1336-1573). Soon different types of udon were developed by the various regions of Japan.
Soota Udon Gen’s open kitchen is one of the distinctive aspects of the restaurant—the cooks work facing the dining tables. The main perk of this feature is that customers get a glimpse of the chefs manufacturing handmade noodles on the spot. We were lucky enough to get front-row table seats facing the kitchen and watch the cooks knead and toss the dough. This sight kept our eyes busy during the short wait for our order.
The menus were served to us very quickly: only five minutes had passed before our first bowl of udon came out of the kitchen. We commenced our udon feast with the classic tempura udon. Soota Udon Gen managed to make its shrimp tempura soft yet not too soggy from absorbing the soup, adding a fresh touch of seafood to the dish. The broth is perhaps the most important element of good udon, since it is what shapes the overall taste and savor of the food. The hot udon’s soup was frankly not particularly special. This, however, did not in any way detract from our rating of Soota Udon Gen’s tempura udon—we had the restaurant’s amazing noodles to compensate for the soup’s blandness. Despite the time it took us to finish the entire bowl, the udon noodles stayed firm and chewy until the end.
After the tempura udon, we moved on to bukkake udon topped with karaage. The bukkake udon, which is a type of chilled Japanese noodle, used a similar soy broth used in soba, which was distinct from the broth of the tempura udon. As the noodles were chilled, the Bukkake udon noodles were also chewier compared to the hot tempura udon. Despite both being delicious in their own ways, we found that the bukkake udon to be more flavourful. It was clear that the bukkake udon enhanced the distinctive aspect of the restaurant. The fact that chilled udons are less common also made bukkake udon more special.
Along with our udon, we also ordered okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake. While the okonomiyaki was tasty and flavorful, we found the large pancake to be too strong. With the sweet and savory flavor of the mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce, the pancake overpowered the taste of the udon. The okonomiyaki was also relatively doughy which filled our stomachs quickly.
Admittedly, for a price of ₩10,000 for the chilled udon, Soota Udon Gen was relatively expensive. However, the restaurant did have exceptional noodles. With chewiness coupled with the savory taste of the broth, the bowl of udon was immensely satisfying. Furthermore, the serving size was relatively large compared to other restaurants. For anyone who desires a fulfilling meal, we recommend Soota Udon Gen as a great place to experience to enjoy udon to its fullest.