Udon Sakaide: Udon for everyone
Udon SakaideCuisine: Japanese
A tasty and traditional dish of Japan awaits just a quick 10-minute bus ride from Hardy Barracks. If you find yourself in the area, or possibly staying overnight, Udon SAKAIDE is the perfect place to experience a great-tasting version of the Japanese udon noodles.
Udon is a traditional Japanese wheat-flour noodle that has been enjoyed since medieval era. Today, it is right there with soba and ramen as one of the most popular noodle dishes in the nation. The thick, white noodles can be enjoyed in both hot and cold broth, or with a wide range of pot dishes.
Since first discovering the joint about seven years ago, I’ve been frequenting Udon SAKAIDE for its chewy, thick and heavy noodles with less-salty, yet full-bodied broth.
I usually order its signature dish “shiro” (white) – a bowl of udon made up of noodles, pork ribs and homemade ginger-based
broth (available in either hot or cold) for 800 yen ($7). The tender and savory pork ribs go best with the broth made from multiple different dashi stocks such as kelp, dried small sardines and bonito. The combination makes the strong-bodied noodle really stand out.
According to the owner Ryota Moriya, he and another cook, Makoto Narimatsu, make the noodles by hand using only wheat flour, water and salt that are produced in the main island of Hokkaido.
The duo then applies a traditional method to make the noodles.
“After stirring flour, water and salt into a dough, we carefully fold and press it repeatedly - more than 200 times - until it becomes firm and strong,” Moriya said. “This time-consuming process only gives the dough such a unique strong body and smooth texture.”
Moriya explains that udon is basically made up of noodle and broth, therefore, their quality determines the whole dish. “So, my ultimate concern is to offer the best quality of noodle and broth,” he said.
The tiny restaurant can accommodate only 12 seats at the L-shaped counter. The clean and cozy place interior small, but that gives you an opportunity to watch Moriya and Narimatsu make noodles while you enjoy your tasty meal.
Besides the most popular pork rib udon, SAKAIDE offers various other udon dishes, such as curry udon, vegetable tempura udon, along with some seasonal noodle dishes. You can add various toppings, such as grinded radish, egg and seaweed onto your dish, as well.
Moriya opened the restaurant in 2010 after gaining the skills to make tasty udon through years of working at various eateries. He named the joint SAKAIDE after a city of Kagawa Prefecture where he completed his cooking practice.
“The smiling face of customers who have enjoyed our udon is what drives us,” Moriya said. “I’ll keep up my efforts to make our udon even better.”
If you’re in Tokyo and maybe staying a night at Hardy Barracks, why not visit the tiny joint and sample a tasty bowl of true Japan.
Hours: Mon. – Sat., 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., 6:30 -10 p.m.
Location: 12-8 Samoncho [1F], Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo